PARIS – Two independent Chinese auto makers are approaching this week’s Paris auto show as if they were taking a swim.
Jiangling Motors Co. Ltd. is diving in with its Landwind SUV, while Great Wall Motor Automobile Holding Co. Ltd. is dipping its toes into the water.
Jiangling is a subsidiary of Changan Auto Co. Ltd., which produces 600,000 units annually and has partnerships withMotor Co. and Motor Corp. Great Wall is a light-truck maker with gasoline engines powered by Motor Corp.
Landwind Motor Corp., the European Landwind distributor, hopes to have the Landwind X6 SUV on sale in January at 80 French dealerships. The vehicle is being localized to meet Euro IV exhaust emissions.
At a Sept. 29 press conference here, the auto maker also will introduce a compact minivan, designed in China by an Italian designer, that will compete with theScenic.
Great Wall, a private auto maker in China’s Hebei province also known by its Chinese name Changcheng Automobile Co. Ltd., will use reaction at the show to help decide when to enter the French market.
The company will display its Hover 4x4 Luxury SUV with a 2.4Lgasoline engine and Hover TC and Wingle pickups both powered by a new 2.8L diesel developed in-house.
The two auto makers are rivals in their home market. Great Wall leads the pickup segment with a 35% share, followed by Jiangling with 25%. Great Wall holds 16% of the Chinese SUV segment, while Jiangling is No.7 with 6%.
Last year’s disastrous crash test of the Landwind SUV following the Frankfurt auto show becalmed import sales in Holland and Germany.
But Landwind importer Peter Bijvelds of Belgium continues to back the vehicle, and in March he chose Asie Motors to distribute the Landwind through former MG Rover dealers in France.
However, a crash test of the Hover at the China Automotive Technology and Research Center in Tianjin, China, this year showed the Great Wall SUV would win four stars in the EuroNCAP crash tests, President Wang Fengying tells a Chinese trade publication.
The Hover TC and Wingle are powered by a new common-rail diesel developed over 18 months that meets Euro III exhaust standards, the report says. The 2.8L, called INTEC, produces 166 lb.-ft. (225 Nm) of torque. Diesels account for about 50% of sales in Europe and even more in the SUV segment.
Great Wall has been growing since the early 1990s, when Chairman Wei Jianjun took over parts of the former Great Wall Industrial Co. Ltd. Wang, the only woman leader of a Chinese car company, joined in 1990. She says in a published interview the auto maker intends to begin building passenger sedans next year.
The Paris show is the first time Great Wall has taken its products to Western Europe, although it had a stand at the last two Moscow auto shows and has a project – now delayed – to build cars in Russia. Great Wall does not plan to exhibit at next year’s North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Wang tells the Chinese trade journal Great Wall is not ready to distribute cars in Western Europe, despite having a price advantage.
“I think we should pay attention to quality improvements in order to win the long-term battle,” she is quoted as saying. “Improving the quality of our products is still our priority.”
Great Wall is selling its vehicles in Russia but plans to establish a production plant have been delayed. “The Russian government and the public are very protective of their own automotive industry,” she says. “But I still hope we can carry out our plans.”