Great Wall unveils plan to export cars to US and Europe
Kandy Wong in Beijing
Great Wall Motor, the mainland's largest sport-utility vehicle and pickup truck maker, plans to export vehicles to the United States and western Europe by 2010, according to its top executives.
The company, regarded as a second-tier carmaker in the domestic market, is the fifth Chinese vehicle manufacturer to announce plans to export to mature markets after Geely Holding Group, Chery Automobile, BYD Auto, Brilliance China and Zhongxing Automobile.
'We're building vehicles that suit international standards, paving the way for our entry to the US and western Europe,' president Wang Fengying said yesterday in a conference before the Beijing Car Show.
'Chinese brands should gain a foothold in international markets.'
The Hong Kong-listed carmaker hopes to begin exporting to the European markets as early as next year, to be followed by shipments to the US.
Ms Wang said Great Wall had to do more studies, such as consumer needs and international regulations, before tapping the US market.
'We're in talks with many dealers on distributing our vehicles in the US and Europe,' said deputy general manager Bai Xuefei.
Besides making SUVs and multi-purpose vehicles, Great Wall is diversifying into passenger car production. After launching its Jingling passenger car late last year, it now plans to introduce three new models this year and roll out another 10 models in 2010.
'We'll introduce new models in the domestic and international markets at the same time,' Ms Wang said.
'We're confident that fuel-efficient and small cars will be well-received in China one day, as the country is facing huge pressure on energy consumption amid robust demand for vehicles.'
Chinese carmakers are employing different business models in selling vehicles in the US and Europe.
Geely plans to build a US$500 million factory in Mexico as a way to enter the US market, while Chery is working with Chrysler to make and assemble cars. Both parties hope the cars will be sold eventually in the US.
Brilliance China and Taiwanese-managed Zhongxing will rely on local dealers for distribution.
Meanwhile, BYD Auto will try to catch the mature markets' attention with its hi-tech green cars.