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Former Holden engineers take on China
Chinese language skills, contacts open doors for Aussie engineers
12 Mar 2015
By IAN PORTER
UPDATED: 17/03/2015TWO former GM Holden engineers have teamed up to take their skills to China where they are already making inroads in the ultra competitive market, picking up work with automotive giant, Geely.
The engineers, Kin Cheong and Wen Shan, have formed Red Lion Engineering and have already made two trips to China to drum up business.
Mr Cheong was most recently director of chassis and HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) at GMH, while Ms Shan was a cost engineering manager with 15 years experience.
He confirmed last week that Red Lion Engineering had signed a contract to supply automotive engineering services to Chinese car-maker, Geely.
“We’re thrilled to have signed our contract with Geely this week and look forward to beginning work on the program requirements and operational details, and starting our recruitment activity to identify the best engineers to deliver on the contract objectives,” he said.
GoAuto has previously reported another Australian connection to Geely, with Melbourne-based automotive engineering firm Premcar working on the chassis tune of the car-maker's Volvo-based EC9 sedan last year.
Mr Cheong said the pair were in touch with business associates in China in a bid to win clients, and added that they have experienced engineers they can call on ready to work on whatever project arises.
“We do have business contacts in China and we are approaching them,” Mr Cheong said.
“We have a pool of very experienced engineers, all ex-GM Holden, with a whole heap of experience and expertise.
“If you don’t use that, it will soon be gone,” Mr Cheong said.
“We don’t have all the engineering experience that might be required by the clients, so we do have a pool of engineers to call on.”
Mr Cheong said Red Lion Engineering would only be involved in the early stages of a vehicle project with future contracts.
“We are focusing on a specific part of the development process, the initial part: the architecture development, the packaging part, the performance integration and the concept vehicle development stage.
“That’s the area we are focusing on, rather than competing on detail design and development stages.
“What are the market requirements, what attributes does this this vehicle need in that market or this market based on safety requirements, based on where they want the market to be, based on the benchmarking over the last model, what do they need this car to be, how many variants do they need, how many levels of suspension do they need, how many levels of EPS do they need?“Based on all that data, we give them an idea of which direction to go in terms of the next generation of cars,” Mr Cheong said.
Ms Shan speaks fluent Chinese and this has made it easier to deal with potential customers, she said.
“In the last few years GMH did some programs, some joint ventures in China and those programs gave the engineers the confidence that they can deliver the program, deliver it remotely and that is our business model,” she said.
Mr Cheong was confident Red Lion Engineering has the experience to do business in China.
“We are very in tune with the way they work within their different cultures, their different processes and language barriers.”“Where we are is we are close to securing some contracts. We have been talking to a number of Chinese local manufacturers.”
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