At the Frankfurt auto show in September, Great Wall Motor Co. announced plans to distribute vehicles under its premium brand, Wey, in Western Europe within two years, starting with Germany.
This year, Great Wall opened an assembly plant in Russia. At that event, Chairman Wei Jianjun was asked why domestic Chinese carmakers should sell their cars globally when their home is the world's largest new-car market.
His explanation to the Chinese media: After competing with domestic rivals on price for so long, it's time for Chinese carmakers to compete on brand strength. And as worldwide operations are a must for any car company with true international standing, Chinese brands must go global, he added. He also said that he has joked with staffers about weighing the risks of venturing far from home. The verdict: "Great Wall would rather take the challenge, even if it means dying abroad."
In Frankfurt, Wei said entering the U.S. remains an ambition for the company, 11 years after proclaiming its "ultimate goal" was to sell cars there. That same month, Great Wall signed up Swedish supplier Autoliv Inc. to help research road safety in North America and better prepare its vehicles for the market — whenever they might arrive.