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Thai ties add spice to Great Wall

Thai'd in: Great Wall plans to open a production facility in Thailand in the near future.

Chinese brand to open soft-roader production line in Thailand

Great Wall logo3 Apr 2013

CHINESE car-maker Great Wall Motors has flagged plans to open a $300 million production line in Thailand to start building SUVs.

The Bangkok Post reported this week that Great Wall planned to start building the new factory at an as-yet undisclosed site later this year, with plans to build up to 100,000 vehicles a year once the plant comes fully on-stream from 2015.

Great Wall Australia public relations consultant Daniel Cotterill said it was still too early to say if Great Wall-badged vehicles would be imported from Thailand for sale in Australia.

“I know that many of our competitors have product that’s made in Thailand,” Mr Cotterill said.

“I guess at this stage that some Great Wall product could come here from Thailand in the future, but at the moment our plans are directly with Great Wall in China.”

Great Wall’s Australian branch currently sourced its cars from Chinese factories in Baoding and Tianjin, he said.

“But if it makes sense in the future and we can save on freight doing that and lower costs for the customer, we’ll certainly think about doing that.” Mr Cotterill said it was difficult to source Chinese cars for the Australian market for a number of reasons.

“If you look at any car-maker in China there are a lot of left-hand-drive vehicles that for various reasons it does not make sense to get them here or any other right-hand-drive country,” he said.

“That can be as simple as the platform was never engineered for RHD, it could have to do with where that vehicle is in its life-cycle ... it needs to make sense here product-wise, and it also needs to make sense here price-wise.”

He said when importers worked through the right-hand-drive model catalogues of Chinese car-makers applying these guidelines, the options available to potential Australian distributors “shrinks very rapidly”.

Great Wall’s current product line-up includes the V-Series single- and dual-cab utes, and the X200 SUV.

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