Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor will inaugurate on February 21 a plant in Bulgaria, which will produce the first Chinese cars assembled in Europe.
According to local partner Litex Motors, the plant located in the northern village of Bahovitsa near Lovech has undergone production tests since mid-November. The facility has a planned annual capacity of 50,000 cars for the Bulgarian and European market and will employ up to 2,000 people. Great Wall Motor has already launched its official advertising campaign in Bulgaria for the three models to be built in the EU-member country: the Hover H5 SUV, the Steed 5 pick-up and the Voleex C10 city car.
Great Wall Motor, one of China’s leading maker of sports utility vehicles, signed with Litex Motors the contract for the plant in 2009. At the beginning, the factory will assemble cars with parts imported from China, but Litex Motors plans to gradually organise the production of some parts in Bulgaria.
According to Renault-Nissan’s Bulgaria CEO Bernard Neuviale, Great Wall cars will not directly threaten the sales of Renault’s Romania-made Dacia. “Great Wall will first have to prove many things, in the first place that it can produce here a car of good quality and then we’ll see. Their prices are also not so good,” Neuviale said.
The Voleex C10 is priced from 16,000 leva (€8,200), with the Steed 5 pick-up and the Hover H5 SUV at 24,500 and 28,700 leva respectively. Renault’s new Twingo has a start price of 18,000 leva.