Great Wall Motors has become the first independent Chinese vehicle manufacturer to earn European Whole of Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA) from the UK-based Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA).

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Four Great Wall designs received approval including two variants currently on sale in Australia: the V240 ute and the X240 SUV.

WVTA testing encompasses 48 tests, including 13 on active safety, 13 on passive safety and eight on emissions and environmental protection.

Two recently introduced and stringent regulations involve pedestrian safety and end of vehicle life requirements such as re-use, recycling and recovery.

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The VCA is an executive agency of the United Kingdom Department for Transport, responsible for operating the system of automotive type approval in the UK.

Managing Director of Great Wall’s Australian distributor Ateco Automotive, Ric Hull, said the European WVTA simply reinforced his confidence in the Great Wall Motor Company.

“I am certain that Great Wall will go on to bigger and better things both here in Australia and in other markets.

“Great Wall vehicles are selling very well across Australia through our steadily expanding dealer network.

“The European approval is yet another indication that the Chinese automotive industry will be a global force to be reckoned with in the near future,” Mr Hull said.

The news follows yesterday’s revelation that the company will start production of off-road vehicles in Lovech, Bulgaria by the end of next year.

The agreement with Litex Motors is believed to be worth 80 million Euro (AUD$130 million), but Great Wall is yet to announce any production figures for the European venture.

by Tim Beissmann