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Crossover SUVs are hugely popular these days. What’s not to like? Successfully blend the driving manners and fuel economy of a car with the roomy accommodation, class-above interior appointments and ride height of an SUV, price it affordably, and you’ve got a vehicle type that should appeal to many Filipino families during these trying times.

So it’s not surprising why one of Geely’s two current model offerings in the country—the Coolray—is a top-seller among the 5-seater subcompact crossovers last month as reported by the Chamber of Automotive Manufacturers of the Philippines (Campi) and the Association of Vehicle Importers and Distributors (Avid).

With Sojitz G Auto Philippines (SGAP), the official distributor of Geely brand of vehicles in the country, selling 154 units of Coolray last June, such numbers even bested the combined sales of four other car companies that offer comparable models in the same category.

“This is definitely a very positive development as every auto brand tries to bounce back during this post-enhanced community quarantine period. We are very delighted by this outcome considering this was mainly driven by one model, the Coolray, and by our only showroom at the moment, located in North Edsa,” said SGAP president and CEO Mikihisa Takayama.

10th overall

Aside from the Coolray, SGAP’s only other model in the market at the moment is the compact crossover SUV Azkarra that was just launched last May. Takayama is proud to report that combining the sales of Coolray and Azkarra, SGAP was able to place 10th overall in June with 184 units sold.

This translates to a 160 percent jump from the 70 units SGAP sold last May. SGAP has already sold a total of 549 units for the first half of 2020.

Takayama related that at a starting price of P978,000 for the Comfort base variant, the Coolray is one attractive proposition. Design-wise, it exudes youthful stance as well as confidence, thanks to several features that belie its low price point.

“Geely Coolray was the result of the collaboration of a global team of Geely engineers and designers. While this brand calls Hangzhou, China its home, Geely is a multicultural global organization with four well-equipped design studios in Shanghai in China, Gothenburg in Sweden, Barcelona in Spain and California in the United States. Moreover, Geely has made independent innovative breakthroughs and integration of global knowledge central to its development strategy. It has globalized R&D network with four centers located in Gothenburg, Hangzhou and Ningbo in China, and Coventry in England, employing over 10,000 science and technology-focused personnel,” he said.

Volvo partnership

Last March marked the 10 years of Chinese automaker Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely) in acquiring Volvo Cars. While the 93-year-old Swedish car maker remains a separate firm from Geely, which also owns brands including Lotus, Lynk&Co, Proton and LEVC (Volvo’s new spin-off brand Polestar is jointly owned by the two), Geely has made several bold moves that revitalized its lineup.

Underneath the Coolray’s stylish and sporty exterior design is a sophisticated B-segment Modular Architecture—BMA platform—that was derived from the CMA platform (Compact Modular Architecture) jointly developed with Volvo. The Coolray’s BMA platform was designed to exceed the criteria for a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating, as well as being future proof for the eventual electrification of vehicles. Adopting the BMA platform also allows up to 70 percent commonality in parts and components among the entire Geely Group, shortening development lead time and allowing the company to stay on top of customer demands.

Coolray is powered by a Volvo-derived 1.5-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that makes 175 horsepower and 255 Nm of torque (mated to a 7-speed dual clutch transmission). The Coolray is rated to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in 7.9 seconds while delivering a 15 km/L average fuel consumption.

Aside from the Comfort, the Coolray is also available in Premium (P1.09 million) and Sport (P1.2 million) variants. The top-of-the-line Sport features premium leather seats, panoramic sunroof, customizable, 7-inch LCD instrument panel, fully automatic parking technology, full LED headlamps and fog lamps, smart keyless entry, tire pressure monitoring system and two-tone body colors (Orange, Vermilion and White models). Interestingly the three variants share similar high-end interior appointments including a floating 10.25-inch multimedia touchscreen with QD link Android connectivity function, and jet throttle inspired e-shift.