Great Wall Motor Co. Ltd. is accelerating plans to become the first Chinese car brand available in Australia and New Zealand.

Through importer Ateco Automotive Pty. Ltd., the auto maker will begin sales in October with a network of 50 retailers in Australia and five or six in New Zealand.

The launch is more than six months earlier than predicted and follows three years of negotiations between Great Wall and Ateco.

Ateco will manage the Australian operation from its Sydney headquarters, while the New Zealand network will be run from Ateco’s headquarters in Auckland.

The first model offered will be a 2.3L double-cab Ute that will cost well under A$20,000 ($19,061) in both countries, Ateco says.

“The Ute will be followed soon after with a single-cab Ute, a compact SUV and an entry-level light car,” says Ateco Managing Director Ric Hull. “Pricing will be comparable to similar (South) Korean models, with a significantly higher specification.”

There also will be name changes for the vehicles. Great Wall uses monikers such as Safe, Sailor and Wingle in China, but these will be replaced with an alpha-numeric system in Australia and New Zealand.

“From Day One, we have been thoroughly impressed with GWM,” Hull says. “World-class production facilities are becoming commonplace in China, and there is no doubt that GWM has set the production benchmark.

“We targeted GWM for our Chinese plans because they are highly disciplined, organized and well led.”

Ateco says details and pricing of the new vehicles will be announced closer to their on-sale dates.