Great Wall could become the first large-scale Chinese automotive brand to go on sale in the US after the company announced its intentions to launch in the market by 2015.
Great Wall president Wang Fengying told industry journal Automotive News China she expected the Baoding-based manufacturer’s SUVs to be available to US customers by the middle of the decade following further investigations into the market’s safety and emissions policies.
“We started planning to enter the US market two years ago,” Wang said. “We need to study its laws and regulations as well as consumer preferences.”
Wang said Great Wall was also looking at the possibility of building its vehicles in the SUV-loving country, adding to the company’s existing complete- and semi-knockdown plants in Bulgaria, Ecuador, Egypt, Indonesia, Iran and Russia.
“Since the United States is far away from China and its import tariffs on vehicles are not particularly high, we would prefer to build the vehicles locally,” she said.
The only Chinese cars exported to the US to date have been 11 BYD E6 hatchbacks as part of an EV pilot program.
Automotive News reports Great Wall built 677,000 vehicles in 2012 and exported 96,500 – most of those belonging to its Haval SUV family.
Along with Russia and South Africa, Australia is one of Great Wall’s largest markets. Since launching in mid 2009, Great Wall has sold just over 30,000 SUVs and utes across Australia.