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Sunday, 12 February 2023

Abou Ghaly brings a Geely EV to the local market (with payment in FX), looks to use Egypt as a hub to sell EVs into Africa

Abou Ghaly will introduce Geely EVs here: Abou Ghaly Motors is introducing Chinese automaker Geely’s Geometry C electric car to the local market, according to a company statement.

The catch: If you want one you’ll need to pay in USD through Abou Ghaly’s freezone company in Alexandria due to the difficulties that local automakers continue to face securing hard currency payments for imports, Tamer Kotb, Abou Ghaly’s group chief operating officer, told Enterprise yesterday.

About the car: Geometry C can cover up to 550 km on a full charge with some 201 horsepower. The car saves motorists some 80% in fuel and running costs when compared with traditional vehicles, Abou Ghaly said in its statement. Check out more of the car’s specs here.

The auto sector is still facing logjams at the nation’s ports: “We are still unable to release any of our car imports stuck at the ports since last May due to the country’s FX squeeze,” said Kotb, telling us that cars aren’t among the government’s priorities when it comes to releasing backlogged imports.

Wait what? Prime Minister Moustafa Madbouly said at the end of January that the backlog of imported goods at our ports has been cleared.

The auto sector had a tough 2022: Annual car sales fell more than a third during 2022 on the back of the FX crunch, according to industry data out earlier this month. Sales are expected to pick up later this year after the central bank revoked import restrictions brought in last spring to conserve hard currency.


Abou Ghaly plans to start locally assembling Geely EVs at some point this year, Kotb told us. Geely will provide the know-how and technical expertise, while Abou Ghaly will cover the initial investment cost and take charge of marketing, distribution and sales, he said. The local automaker is in negotiations with Geely to use Egypt as an export hub for the Chinese automaker’s EVs to Africa, he added.

Abou Ghaly thinks the market is ready: “Talking to leaders in the green-industry ecosystem during the Enterprise Climate X Forum in December reinforced our belief that the Egyptian market is ready for EVs,” said Kotb. The company has been talking to “Geely and other international EV automakers about importing and even assembling their EV cars in Egypt and trying to convince them that local demand and the infrastructure are up to par,” he added. Our friends at renewable energy player Infinity have built at least 115 charging stations so far nationwide, part of a plan with the government to set up 6k vehicle charging points at 3k stations across the country.

EVs are now the priority amid market uncertainty: The local automaker last year said it hoped to start locally producing one of Geely’s traditional economy lines in the summer of this year, before later moving into EVs. But the signing of an agreement on local production for traditional vehicles has been postponed indefinitely, Kotb told us, citing the Chinese company’s concerns over “market uncertainty.”

Gov’t is backing the move: The government is supporting Abou Ghaly and other private secretary players with incentives to get the EV industry off the ground, Environment Minister Yasmine Fouad said at the launch event, without elaborating. The minister expects the first locally-assembled EVs to roll off production lines next year. International Cooperation Minister Rania Al Mashat and Trade and Industry Minister Ahmed Samir also attended the launch.

The national automotive strategy should unlock more investment in local production: “It’s unlikely that any investor will take serious steps into local assembly before the launch of the government’s automotive strategy and assurances that the program will remain in place for at least 5-7 years,” said Kotb.

We’ve been waiting for the government to unveil its automotive strategy for years: The government is working on the long-awaited strategy, which it says will provide incentives to carmakers in a bid to increase local assembly and component manufacturing.

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