Geely’s drive in the areas of safety research and development is gaining traction as the Chinese car maker reports that the first phase of its automotive safety technology laboratory and test centre has been completed and put into service. This means that Geely now has the vehicle crash test capacity under Chinese and EU crash regulations systems.

The Zhejiang-based company is in the fifth year of its transformation from an affordable vehicle brand to a quality and technology-driven, globally competitive carmaker. As more customers switched to Geely, the annual sales volume of 415 286 units in 2010 was an improvement of 27,68% over the previous year.

Geely has already invested more than four million US dollars in construction costs in the new facility, which covers nearly 12-acres and includes real and virtual crash-testing grounds for vehicles. Initially it will be equipped to prepare vehicles for safety impact tests to both Chinese and European standards and, on completion, will be able to conduct rollover tests, all impact tests as well as provide a testing ground for the vehicle operating stability system.

Dr. Frank Zhao, Geely Holding Group’s vice president and president of its Research Institute, said that at present the group’s annual investment in car safety tests and other R&D efforts accounts for around 10% of its sales revenue. He added that above 80% of Geely’s new cars will be developed based on the C-NCAP five-star safety rating and the remaining will reach four-star level.

Two Geely models have achieved five-star rating. The first was the Panda minicar (recently launched in South Africa as the LC) in 2009. With a total score of 45,3, it was the first ever A00 class car in China to achieve such a standard. The second was the Emgrand EC7 sedan and hatchback, which achieved a record high score of 46,8 in January 2011.

These achievements were possible because of GTSM (Geely Total Safety Management) system, which includes all of Geely’s active and passive safety technology and represents the manufacturer’s safety development philosophy. In the third-party certified C-NCAP test for passive safety, a four-star rating is Geely’s minimum objective while the ultimate goal is a five-star rating. Geely states that 80% of its cars will be designed to achieve a five-star rating.

At this year’s Shanghai and Shenzhen-Hong Kong international auto shows, the car company’s ‘Quality Geely’ theme shone through and of particular interest was its cutaway examples of the Emgrand EC8 and EX8 sports utility vehicles in the Geely Safety Technology Park. The ‘disassembled’ cars revealed Geely’s advanced technology, designed to ensure safety, which included safety features like seat belt, air bag and air curtain configurations as well as the application of high-strength steel and optimisation of the car body. Dissection of the EX8 showed both its passive safety applications as well as its four-wheel-drive technology.

Show visitors were also able to closely examine Geely’s BMBS (Blow-out Monitoring and Braking System) active safety technology via an interactive ‘touch centre’, where the benefits of BMBS could be experienced. These include helping the vehicle to brake with 500 milliseconds in response to a tyre bursting during high-speed driving. This greatly reduces the risk of accidents, as drivers in ordinary situations may only be able to react after two or three seconds.

Geely’s BMBS technology enables real-time tyre pressure monitoring. It is able to detect unusual changes in the tyres’ air pressure and temperature. When a blowout occurs, the system starts up a rapid intelligent response that triggers automatic emergency braking, yet maintains steady reduction of speed. The technology, which was first seen at the North American Auto Show in 2008, received a Special Contribution Award for Technical Innovation.

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