SHANGHAI – China’s Great Wall Motor is set to enter the European market next year, even though Chinese automakers have had low sales in Europe this year, media reported. The company has selected Britai’s I.M. Group as its European distributor.
Great Wall, which makes such models as the Phenom, Coolbear and Florid, will sell its vehicles in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in 2010, and then expand its European sales to Scandinavia, the UK and Ireland in 2011. It may be the first Chinese carmaker to benefit from the lucrative European market next year and beyond.
The private Chinese carmaker has designed and built all of the European-bound models specifically to meet EU whole-vehicle type approval standards. This will ensure that Great Wall models deliver high standards of crash-worthiness, equal to those of modern European and Japanese vehicles.
Great Wall unveiled the Phenom at the Guangzhou auto show earlier this year. It said the model was designed to meet European New Car Assessment Program standards and would be exported to Europe. Great Wall has exported its vehicles to Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Australia, Algeria, Cuba, the Philippines, and other countries.
Chinese vehicles have not sold well in Europe. Five Chinese automakers, including Brilliance, Chang’an, Great Wall, Jianghuai and Lifan, exported only 745 vehicles to the European Union (EU) in the first nine months of this year.
It may be wise of Great Wall Motor to initially target the Baltic states, where quality is’t typically on a par with Western Europe, but its expansion into the UK and Ireland could prove an uphill task for the small automaker.