Chinese brand Great Wall to launch this summer
Chinese car brand Great Wall will launch in the UK this summer with one aim – to make its customers the happiest around.
The car brand is being introduced by importers IM Group, the firm behind Subaru, Isuzu and formerly Daihatsu.
Armed with a pick-up and city car, Great Wall says it will offer customers "more for less" and is signing its dealers up to a "Customer Charter" to ensure standards are kept high.
"We will offer customers a lot more," explained Paul Hegarty, managing director of Great Wall Motor Distributors (UK). "The quality of the cars is very impressive with many Germanic associations. We will be launching with specifications that most people would not expect.
"The Koreans would be the most obvious competition, but it doesn't matter what you compare Great Wall products to, the spec will be higher. I don't think we will have a base spec – our 'base' spec will be higher than many of our competitors' top specs."
The first Great Wall vehicle to launch will be the pick-up Steed in the autumn. Aimed at the leisure and light commercial market it comes with a decent spec and what's likely to be a bargain price tag.
The Voleex C10 city car will arrive in the winter. It's surprisingly good to drive and built extremely well – in fact it's likely to shock many car buyers with its high quality and impressive kit levels.
Hegarty added: "The problem we might have is that Great Wall isn't known by consumers at the moment. But with our strong proposition and by working with our dealers, this is only a short-term problem.
"In some markets Great Wall is known as GWM. We could have adopted that name for the UK, but we felt it was anonymous. GWM does nothing to build an image of a new car company – whereas Great Wall does.
"It's strong sounding and looks good in brochures. Great Wall is probably the strongest image of China too. Bearing in mind we don't think being Chinese is anything but a positive, the name Great Wall is ideal."
Great Wall was established in its home market in 1976 and specialised in converting vehicles. It then turned its hand to building them itself and its growth has exploded ever since. Now it can boast sales in more than 100 countries and has recently celebrated building its 700,000th pick-up.
Great Wall has big ambitions too: By 2015 it aims to be the biggest seller of both SUV and pick-up models in China and by 2020 it is confident it will be the biggest seller of both types of vehicle in the world.
Hegarty added: "We won't have sales targets. For us, the volume is relatively insignificant at this point compared to getting Great Wall into the market and doing the job correctly. More important will be happy customers who will become advocates of the brand and our dealers."
Autoblog has bagged exclusive first drives of both the Steed and C10.