Great Wall Motor Co., a privately held Chinese automaker, plans to start selling its Voleex subcompact in Europe in the first half of 2011. The Voleex, a 1.5-liter gasoline-powered hatchback, will first be exported to Italy.
Then, it will start selling locally assembled Voleex cars in Bulgaria, said Roger Gao, manager of the company's international branding department. Italy is the sole European market where Great Wall exports its products. Other products sold in Italy include the Wingle pickup and the Hover SUV.
The company's Lovech, Bulgaria assembly plant will begin production in the first half of 2011. The Lovech plant will initially produce only for the Bulgarian market.
Meanwhile, Great Wall will export the Voleex, the Hover SUV and Wingle pickup from China over the next few years, Gao said. He adds that Great Wall intends to increase its vehicle exports to 80,000 units in 2011.
Based in Baoding, Hebei, China, the company sold nearly 50,000 vehicles outside China in the first 11 months, most of them in Southeast Asia and Russia.
Great Wall facilities in Russia, Vietnam, Indonesia, Iran and Egypt currently assemble vehicles from imported kits. In 2011, Great Wall will build a second assembly plant in Russia, plus new plants in Malaysia and the Philippines. [via autonews - sub. required]