SHANGHAI -- Great Wall Motor Co. plans to start selling its Voleex subcompact in Europe in the first half of next year.
The privately held Chinese automaker first will export the Voleex to Italy. Later, it will launch sales of locally assembled Voleex cars in Bulgaria, said Roger Gao, manager of the company's international branding department.
The Voleex is a 1.5-liter gasoline-powered hatchback.
Italy is the only European market where Great Wall exports its products. The company currently sells the Hover SUV and the Wingle pickup there.
Great Wall's assembly plant in Lovech, Bulgaria, is slated to begin production in the first half of 2011.
Initially, the Lovech plant will produce only for the Bulgarian market.
In the meantime, Great Wall will export the Voleex along with the Hover SUV and Wingle pickup from China over the next few years, Gao said.
Headquartered in Baoding in the north China province of Hebei, Great Wall sold nearly 50,000 vehicles outside China in the first 11 months, most of them in Russia and Southeast Asia.
Currently, Great Wall plants in Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran and Egypt assemble vehicles from imported kits.
Next year, Great Wall will launch a second assembly plant in Russia, plus new plants in the Philippines and Malaysia.
Great Wall aims to increase its vehicle exports to 80,000 units in 2011, Gao said.