Geely, Great Wall to use UK as testing ground to enter European market

Article by Christian Andrei, on March 22, 2012

Chinese vehicle manufacturers Great Wall Motor and Geely Automobile will use the United Kingdom as a testing ground in its endeavor to enter the European region. This year, two companies will introduce inexpensive vehicles in the country, taking advantage of the rising demand for low-cost models during the harsh economic period.

Furthermore, they want to grab the opportunity of a move upscale by South Korea-based Kia and Hyundai. Attempts to enter the European market by Chinese car manufacturers like Landwind and Brilliance in the past were unsuccessful due to the poor ratings in safety tests that the companies' automobiles had received. Great Wall and Geely Automobile are undertaking these measures to make sure that their vehicles meet Western safety standards.

Great Wall's Steed double-cab pickup is set for launch in the United Kingdom this month through a network of 35 dealers at a price of 13,998 pounds for the standard model.

This is cheaper when compared to the 16,049-pound price tag of Mitsubishi L200 double-cab, which is the market leader. Since 2006, the company has been importing automobiles to Italy. In February, it began operations in a new Bulgarian facility, which will have a capacity of 50,000 units annually by 2013. Meanwhile, Geely will put its Emgrand EC7 compact model up for sale by the end of 2012 in the United Kingdom.

This model has recently achieved four stars -- out of five -- in a crash test conducted by safety organization EuroNCAP. The vehicle has a similar size with Hyundai i30. It will be sold for as low as 10,000 pounds or around 11,800 euros, much lower than the 13,780 pounds for the i30. Great Wall UK's managing director Paul Hegarty noted that the move upscale by Kia and Hyundai had created a gap.

He also related that the United Kingdom is "quite a receptive market" for new brands. Moreover, Geely Auto UK market development director Matthew Cheyne shared in an interview with Automotive News Europe that in the UK vehicle market, no automaker is targeting the people who are searching for a lower cost option and a brand that offers high value for money.

Topics: geely, uk

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