TURIN - Great Wall Motor has big plans for Europe for the next half year.
The Chinese automaker will:
- Debut a new pickup code-named the K2 at the Paris auto show later this month. The four-door, double-cab K2 goes on sale in Italy beginning next spring
- Start sales next month of its Hover SUV in Italy through a network of 90 dealers organized by its importer for Italy, Eurasia Motors
- Export the Hover to eastern Europe later this year.
Other Chinese manufacturers including Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, Chery Automotive and Nanjing Automotive are developing cars to export to Europe within the next few years.
Landwind Europe, Jiangling Motorss Belgium-based distributor, will display in Paris a medium minivan that it plans to sell in Europe starting next year.
Great Walls 4620mm-long, five-door Hover will sell for 19,500 to 23,000. Initially it will be sold only with a 2.4-liter gasoline engine supplied by Mitsubishi.
A diesel engine will be offered starting in late 2007. Eurasia plans to offer a version of the Hover that runs on liquefied petroleum gas until the diesel variant is ready.
Eurasia also holds Great Walls distribution rights in Spain. Eurasia Marketing Manager Marco De Bonis said the importer is talking with two unnamed Spanish distributors, but added that Eurasia could decide to directly appoint dealers in Spain, as we are doing here in Italy.
The Paris show display will be organized by Great Walls distributor for Greece, Synergy Hellas, of Athens.
Great Wall is based in Baoding in the Hebei Province in northern China. It has an annual capacity for 170,000 units. In 2005, the automaker built 29,027 units.
Eurasia plans to sell 10,000-12,000 Great Wall vehicles a year within three years including the Hover, the K2 and a new minicar. Eurasia
Motors is based in Brescia, northeastern Italy.
The Hover and Great Walls Deer pickup were shown at the Bologna auto show last December. Plans to import the aging Deer were canceled in favor of the K2.
The Hover achieved a four-star rating in a European New Car Assessment Program (EuroNCAP) crash test at the China Automobile Technology Center in Tianjin on March 22, according to the automakers Web site. The top score is five stars.
Eurasias De Bonis expects that the Hover will obtain European M1 homologation for passenger vehicles by the end of the year or in early 2007. The Hover already has European N1 certification for light trucks.
Alysha Webb contributed
You may e-mail Luca Ciferri at [email protected]