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Great Wall chief sees SUV for Europe in 2009

Great Wall President Wang wants better quality for Chinese cars.
Great Wall Motor aims to start exporting a new SUV to Europe by 2009, Great Wall President Wang Fengying said.

“In design and development, we are making sure our new SUV complies with European regulations,” she said. Great Wall exported some Hover small SUVs to Italy and Romania in 2006 and 2007.

Wang spoke April 18 at the Automotive News China Conference in Beijing.

By 2010, Great Wall wants to be able to launch its products at the same time in China and Europe, she said.

Great Wall was recently approached by several US companies, about exporting to the US, she said.

But she would not say when Great Wall would start exporting to the US.

“The US market holds tremendous attraction for every Chinese company,” Wang said.

Need to prepare

But she added: “For the US market we need to make sufficient preparations. We need to gain a deep understanding of the market, especially in sales.”

Great Wall is in Baoding, a small city about an hour outside of Beijing. The company made its name producing SUVs and pickups.

Now, Great Wall has moved into the car market. This year, it launched a minicar called the Jingling in China. It plans to launch three small car models this year.

“Our goal is to make them comparable in quality with foreign brands,” she said.

Wang sees great potential in the market for small cars in China because of the rising price of fuel.

For the market to truly take off in China, several conditions are necessary, said Wang.

The government needs to offer tax incentives to consumers to buy small cars, she said.

Also, Chinese automakers need to produce better small cars. That will change the current negative attitude Chinese consumers have toward small cars, said Wang.

Right now, “Chinese consumers will buy a low-quality bigger car rather than a small vehicle,” she said.

China lacks really well-made domestic brands, and needs to improve its innovation and creativity, Wang said.

“Chinese automakers have to make an extraordinary effort to boost their quality in order to change people’s concept of local brands,” said Wang.

Domestic automakers need to make quality the basis of their brand names, not price.

“Now, many pursue volume growth of production and exports. They are not concerned enough with quality,” she said.

For Great Wall, Wang said: “Quality is our future strategy.”

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