Great Wall starts test production in Bulgaria
SOFIA -- China's Great Wall Motor has begun trial production of cars at its new factory in Bulgaria.
The 50,000-unit capacity factory is scheduled to start full production of three Great Wall models in February for sale in initially in Bulgaria.
The plant at Lovech, 150km northeast of Sofia, is the country's only car factory and is a joint venture with the Bulgarian company Litex Motors.
The factory will build the Voleex C10, a subcompact sedan that will sell in Bulgaria for 7,785 euros, the Hover/Havel SUV, priced at 14,350 euros and the Steed/Wingle pickup priced at 12,225 euros.
"The first vehicle to be assembled at the plant will be the Haval SUV, which will be followed by the Wingle pickup and Voleex sedan later next year," said Roger Gao, a manager at Great Wall's international division.
The vehicles will be assembled first with semi-knockdown, or SKD, kits and later with complete knockdown, or CKD, kits shipped from China, Gao said. The vehicles will be sold under Great Wall's brands.
The plant, which will eventually build as many as 50,000 vehicles a year, is expected to assemble "a few thousand" vehicles in 2012, according to Gao.
"Its vehicles will be only sold in Bulgaria in the next two years," Gao said. "The plant will start to export vehicles to other eastern European countries such as Albania," he added.
In Europe, Great Wall exports vehicles to Italy. It also has a CKD plant in Russia.It also has more than 10 SKD and CKD plants in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
In the first 10 months of this year, Great Wall sold 282,000 vehicles globally, up 28 percent year-on-year, according to J.D. Power and Associates.
Automotive New China contributed to this report