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by Matt Campbell

Chinese-based ute and SUV manufacturer Great Wall Motors is set to shift away from its current importer and distributor, Ateco Automotive, as it takes local control of its own fortunes, as well as those of sub-entity Haval in Australia.

Since 2009, Great Wall Motors vehicles have been brought in through Ateco and sold through a network of 80 dealers around the country. However, the launch of its sub-brand Haval in Australia is set to bring that arrangement to an end, with Haval and Great Wall Motors set to be adjoined in the coming months.

Haval claims to be the “number one SUV brand in China”, and the company is set to bring three different sized SUVs to market in 2015 – the H2, H8 and H9 models.

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Ateco Automotive public relations consultant Daniel Cotterill told CarAdvice that the switch between the current distributor and the new management is underway.

“It’s a work in progress,” he said. “[Great Wall Motors] are starting Haval. They’re talking to us about the Great Wall brand.

Cotterill explained that a plan to cease Great Wall Motors imports by Ateco “is being negotiated”.

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“We’re talking to them and we’re trying to work it out as quick as we can,” he said. “They run the two businesses very separately. They do that everywhere they go.

“There will still be Great Wall in Australia – it might be with us, it might be with Haval,” he said.

Great Wall Motors has had a rough stint locally, though industry rumours suggest Ateco has been limiting its intake of stock, which has been reflected in the brand’s sales. In 2014, Great Wall managed just 2637 sales, down 56.8 per cent on its 2013 tally of 6105 units, which in turn was down on the brand’s record year in 2012 (7490 units sold).

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As for Ateco Automotive’s other Chinese brands, Chery is set to be paused in the coming months due to a lack of suitable models and issues with the currency. But Cotterill said its intention with Foton utes and LDV vans remains clear.

“We will certainly persist with those other brands,” he said.




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