Talk of Chinese-brand autos entering the U.S. market has gone on for more than 5 years, but so far, no company has made a full-fledged effort at establishing a nationwide retail network in the U.S. Chinese automaker Great Wall, best known for its Steed pickups and Haval SUVs, is not only contemplating U.S. sales, but even the possibility of assembling vehicles in the U.S.
However, Wang Fengying, general manager of Great Wall, is under no illusions about the ease or simplicity of entering the U.S. market, acknowledging the company needs to do its homework to better understand the U.S. regulatory framework, as well as getting a better understanding of the preferences of U.S. customers.
But Great Wall's talk of building a factory in the U.S. is not merely idle chatter, as the company already operates manufacturing operations outside of China in Indonesia, Russia, Iran, Egypt, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Australia, and South Africa. Although most plants are complete knock-down or semi knock-down plants, its facility in Russia is being retooled for full manufacture. The company is also looking at opening a full-production facility in Thailand. Great Wall had a sales volume of 677,000 vehicles in 2012, with a 2013 goal of 800,000 units, and 130,000 exports.
Source: Automotive News (subscription required)