The time has come, Chinese made cars are now only a few months away from entering Australian markets. The distributor, Ateco Automotive (better known for brands such as Fiat/ Ferrari and Alfa Romeo) will import the first of many Chinese cars to Australia and New Zealand in October of this year.
The announcement comes as a surprise as previously we were told there would be no Chinese cars in Australia till at least 2009. According to Ateco negotiations have been going on for almost three years.
The first Chinese car to arrive in Australia will be from GWM (Great Wall Motor) and come in a form of a double can Ute. Ateco says the car will be priced “well under $20,000 in both Australia and New Zealand”.
“The GWM double cab Ute will be just the start,” says Ric Hull, Managing Director, Ateco Automotive Pty Ltd. “The Ute will be followed soon after with a single cab Ute, a compact SUV and an entry level light car. Pricing will be comparable to similar Korean models with a significantly higher specification.”
GMW is a well known manufacturer in China, with most of its success coming in the form of Ute and SUV models. Ateco also has a deal with rival Cherry automotive as mentioned previously.
Before October, Ateco aims to have at least 50 dealers across Australia. The campaign will be lead by David Stone, the man who is credited with setting up the Hyundai, Daewoo and Kia networks.
New Zealand and Australia will share the same product range, although New Zealand will only have five or six dealers at launch.
What should we expect from the Chinese hopefuls? If they are anything like the Indian made Mahindra Ute we drove last year, we might be a little disappointed, however Ateco has high hopes.
“From day one we have been thoroughly impressed with GWM. World class production facilities are becoming commonplace in China and there is no doubt that GWM has set the production benchmark. But what sets GWM apart is the corporate culture that permeates through the organisation.
The company motto is ‘Improving little by little every day’ and from what we have seen the staff really do live and breathe this philosophy. Every time we go to GWM’s head office in Baoding, we are impressed by the progress that has been made since our last visit.”
Ateco will announce full pricing and specification details before the brand goes on sale in October.