Great Wall Motor Targets Western Europe Expansion

Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Company is targetting an expansion into west European markets in the next two to three years, according to Automotive News Europe. Great Wall is already selling its Hover SUVs in Italy and some eastern European countries.

"We already have a dealer in Italy. We are in contact with potential partners in other key European countries, such as Germany, France, Britain and Spain. It takes time for us to break into these markets, possibly two to three years," a Great Wall senior executive told Reuters.

He added that Great Wall will have separate dealers in each of these countries, but will have one dealer each for northern, central and eastern Europe. Great Wall's Hover X240 SUV got a four-star rating out of a maximum of five in a recent crash test conducted by the ANCAP, Australia’s safety authority. This is the best ever crash test result for a Chinese car.

Great Wall entered the Australian market in June 2009 and aims to double its sales to 8,000 units this year. Sales in Italy are also estimated to grow to 6,000 units from 2,700 units recorded in 2009. Overall vehicle exports of Great Wall, which sells its cars in more than 100 countries and regions, are estimated at 60,000 units this year, up from 35,000 units in 2009, according to company data.

The Chinese company is one of the country’s biggest SUV and pickup makers and has global ambitions, just like other major local carmakers. SAIC Motor, China’s biggest automaker, plans to start building its MG-series sedans at its UK plant and sell them across the EU at the end of this year.

Another Chinese carmaker with global ambitions is Zhejiang Geely Automobile, which bought the Volvo brand from Ford for $1.8 billion.
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