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The genie, er, Geely is out.

In a 2019 video riding on the viral “kick the bottlecap off” challenge, a speeding red Geely hybrid car was shown “nudging” the cap off a plastic bottle. Geely worldwide said of the video: “We might be a bit late to the game, but still now can we finally say we successfully completed the #BottleCapChallenge. All possible due to the exceptional handling and performance of our flagship hybrid sedan Geely Bo Rui GE.”

That was so 2019. This 2020, amid all the misfortunes hounding our species in this planet within the first six months of the year, something good may have finally come out of that opened bottle. The next Geely hybrid that may knock the caps off bottles in mid-shift may be the all-new Azkarra, a compact SUV equipped with mild hybrid technology, plus a CN95 air filter that could very well prevent the novel Coronavirus from hitching a ride on this new flying carpet.

The Azkarra may be seen as Geely’s pleasant surprise, a “blindside kick” to the sales doldrums hounding the auto industry caused by the CoViD-19 pandemic. Geely, known in the auto circles as one of the most aggressive expansionists of China’s large independent carmakers, boasts that this compact SUV “will redefine its segment in terms of technology, design, and engineering.”

Sojitz G Auto Philippines (SGAP) gave a sneak preview of the digital launch of the all-new Geely Azkarra to the media last Thursday, May 28. Yesterday (May 30) at 6 p.m., it was formally launched to the public (streamed via Geely Philippines’ website, Facebook, and YouTube accounts). View the Azkarra video on Geely Philippines’ social media sites.

The Azkarra is a breath of fresh air, in more ways than one. This vehicle, like all other Geely vehicles in the Philippines, is equipped with the cabin air filter designed to keep out dust, harmful gases, particulate matter (PM) of as small as 2.5 microns in diameter, and droplets with diameters larger than .74 microns which the coronavirus can latch onto.

SGAP, in a statement, said that the integration of the mild hybrid technology to the Azkarra is a bold step for Geely as a new challenger in the Philippine automotive industry.

SGAP President and CEO Mikihisa Takayama said, “right now, we see that the auto industry is gearing towards hybrid and electric vehicle technology as it becomes increasingly popular.” Geely’s next-generation compact SUV is a model powered by both the 48V Electric Motor Synergy (EMS) and a 1.5-liter turbo-charged gasoline engine complemented by a 48V belt-starter generator (BSG), a 48V-12 DCDC converter, 48V lithium-ion battery module, and battery management system (BMS).

During his May 28 speech, Takayama said: “Six months after our successful launch of the Geely Coolray, we are taking a bold step forward as we formally introduce to you our new 48V Electric Motor Synergy (EMS) model—the Geely Azkarra. Right now, we see that the auto industry is gearing towards hybrid and electric vehicle technology as it becomes increasingly popular. Powered by a 1.5-liter turbo-charged gasoline engine complemented by a 48V belt-starter generator (BSG) and a battery management system (BMS), Geely is definitely stepping up its game with the launch of the 48V EMS Azkarra.”

The all-new Azkarra is completely redesigned from its first-generation model that was launched in 2016.

Geely Design China’s vice president and general manager Guy Burgoyne said that they have worked miracles to bring luxury brand level technology into the Azkarra. Burgoyne added, “after listening to consumer feedback, we also wanted the user to have easier access to Azkarra’s technology and storage spaces by further refining our interior design.” According to Burgoyne, “the previous generations of Azkarra were already praised by its users for its performance and technology. When it was first launched, it was given the nickname ‘the most beautiful SUV in China’ –with such high praise we knew we had to work harder on the second and third generations.”

The Geely Azkarra is priced at P1,438,000 for its front-wheel drive Premium variant and P1,598,000 for the all-wheel drive 48V EMS Luxury variant.

Geely Auto Group CEO An Conghui said the “the Geely Azkarra is an affordable luxury SUV. With its technological power, refined interior, healthy space, and safety features, the Geely Azkarra will bring a more enjoyable experience to your high-quality life.”

Upgraded in all aspects, the designers and engineers of Geely said they are confident that the Azkarra is redefining the segment for a lifestyle inspired premium SUV.

“Sojitz G Auto Philippines was deeply overwhelmed by the good market reception it received for the Geely brand from the Filipino car buyers since its entry to the Philippines last September 2019. This warm welcome has become our motivation to keep on introducing vehicles that will capture the interest and needs of the customers in the Philippine automotive market,” said Takayama.

The guy who successfully drove the Geely hybrid car and opened the bottlecap might truly have released the genie, er, Geely. Now, we may have our three wishes granted in these quarantined times: “Test, test, and more tests”, for the virus, and yes, certainly for the Azkarra.