Founding Geely in 1986 as a refrigerator-maker with money borrowed from family, Li Shufu transformed his company into a successful private automaker selling cheap products to inland Chinese consumers in tier-3 and 4 cities.
Geely started manufacturing motorcycles in 1994 after the purchase of a failing, state-run firm. Small van production began in 1998, and in 2001 Geely received state approval to make automobiles.
Between 2006 and 2008 Geely expressed its desire to sell in the EU and United States markets, and in pursuit of this goal it presented at the 2005 Frankfurt Motor Show. It followed with a 2006 showing at the Detroit auto show.
Export to the EU and US has been postponed.
Geely approached Ford in mid-2008 about a possible takeover of Volvo Cars. On October 28, 2009, Geely was named as the preferred buyer of Volvo by the American automaker.A deal was reached in late March and completed in early August, 2010.
Volvo continues to operate independent of its new owners, but Geely wants to make Volvo-branded cars in China something Volvo (but not the Chinese State) has agreed to, desires synergy, and nowadays communicates with the company via a special, twice-yearly meeting.
In December 2011 it was announced that Geely would begin selling Chinese designed and manufactured cars in the United Kingdom at the end of 2012, with the first model to go on sale the Emgrand EC7.