Great Wall Motors Company Limited is a Chinese automobile manufacturer formed in 1984. The company is named after the Great Wall of China. As of 2010, it is China's largest sport utility vehicle (SUV) producer.
In the 2012 market beset by lower demand and curbs on road-going city cars, Great Wall performed well. It rose by three places to rank as the seventh largest Chinese automaker and produced just over 675,000 units. The export of cars for 2012 stood at 96,500 units.
Established in 1984, Great Wall initially manufactured only trucks, not producing a sedan car until 2010. The company has been a very successful producer of pickup trucks first reaching top position in the Chinese pickup market in 1998. By 2010, production of Great Wall pickups had reached 700,000.
Making an initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange on 15 December 2003, Great Wall was the first private Chinese auto manufacturer to become a public company. The company is considering listing on the Shanghai Stock Exchange as well.
Sales in 2010 were measured at less than 400,000 (near 2% market share) with exports a small portion of that figure at little more than 50,000, no increase from 2009 figures. That same year saw the Great Wall Haval H series as the 2nd most-purchased SUV in China although this figure may technically include two discrete models, the Great Wall Haval H3 and the Great Wall Haval H5.
Manufacturing for 2011 resulted in 486,800 units, and output this year was the tenth largest of any vehicle maker in China. In 2012 it was reported that the company only allows workers one day off per week and new hires undergo months-long, military-style training.
Great Wall started selling in Europe in 2006, offering small vans. A lot of 500 SUVs were shipped to Italy in 2006 as well. Great Wall products were first available in the Australian market in 2009, and the company was, as of 2010, the only Chinese car manufacturer to sell in the EU. European sales continue, with the 2011 opening of a factory in Bulgaria that assembles three different models from knock-down kits.
As of June 2015 it ranks no. 8 amongst Chinese companies for notes receivable.
Production facilities in China
With a main manufacturing location in Baoding, Hebei province, Great Wall has expansive plans for future production bases and facilities.
Other production bases include a site in Tianjin, a direct-controlled municipality, that began operating in 2011, with further expansion phases planned until 2015. The first phase of this facility may become operational in August 2011 adding 250,000 units per year capacity, and when the project reaches completion total capacity will be twice that.
Another 500,000 units per year base was built in Baoding. This second base become operational in October 2013 and is located in the Xushui county.
Overseas production facilities
There have been several other overseas factories that produced Great Wall models from knock-down kits, located in Bulgaria, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Russia, Senegal, Ukraine, and Vietnam. It is possible that there are now more than ten such factories.
These small workshops are not necessarily affiliated with or owned by Great Wall. Both the Iranian motor company Diar and the Indonesian WICM, an Indomobil Group subsidiary, have assembled Great Wall vehicles from knock-down kits.
A new such factory will become operational in 2013 in Brazil (but postponed for 2014), and by 2015 Great Wall plans for the existence of 24 such facilities. These may appear in places such as Malaysia, the Philippines, South Africa and Venezuela.
Great Wall Motors plans to invest $340 million for a new factory in Thailand. The new plant would start with an initial capacity of 100,000 units per year. This was announced in April 2013. They have made a right-hand drive (RHD) version of the H6 model for the Thai market.
Together with the Bulgarian company Litex Motors, Great Wall has a production base in Bahovitsa, near the town of Lovech, Bulgaria, that became operational in February 2012. As of 2012, the factory has the capacity to assemble 2,000 cars per year from knock-down kits, but by 2014 that number may increase to 50,000. Initially only making the Voleex C10, the factory later added production of an SUV and a pick-up truck and another sedan, the Hover 6, the Steed 5 and the Voleex C30, respectively. Plans for a trial run of electric cars were discussed in late 2011.
Research and development
While R&D activities commenced in 1998, in 2010 the company began construction of a technical center in Baoding, Hebei province. Part of an effort to increase R&D investment, the center may become fully operational in 2013, as Great Wall states it will obtain "world-leading R&D... and technical ability" by that year.
Currently, component design may rely heavily on foreign technical assistance, and some hard-to-source parts may be provisioned from overseas; the company states it has cooperative agreements with companies such as Autoliv, Delphi Automotive, BorgWarner, Robert Bosch GmbH, the German company Brose, Ricardo plc, TRW Automotive, and Valeo in regards to specific parts such as engines, transmissions, door locks, and airbags, etc. As of 2009, some models used Mitsubishi engines and Siemens electronic systems-both sourced in China.
Main article: List of Great Wall models
A wide model range can be had from Great Wall-from light trucks and SUVs to urban runabouts. While its entire model line carries the same badge, the company differentiates its SUV, passenger car, and pickup truck lines naming them Haval, Voleex, and Wingle, respectively. This may be reflective of the fact that older models continue to be produced alongside their newer counterparts.
Great Wall planned to sell electric vehicles domestically beginning in 2011, and in that year the company stated it had "made quite a huge investment in exploring technologies for new energy autos". An all-electric SUV was showcased at the 2010 Guangzhou Auto Show, and the company is considering a tie-up with electric car maker Coda Automotive.
China subsidizes oil and wants its domestic automakers to begin selling electric vehicles for this reason. Some Chinese automakers also see opportunities in less mature electric vehicles because Western companies have yet to develop much of a lead in the technology.
Sales outside China
Great Wall products have been available in many places across the globe. These include Africa, Australia, Europe, where an assembly plant in Bulgaria gives duty-free access to the European Union, Melanesia, the Middle East, Russia, South America, South Asia, and the South Pacific.
Exports may be in the form of knock-down kits as is the case with the assembly plant in Bulgaria. In Europe, as of 2013, Great Wall Motors is present in Romania, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Italy, and the United Kingdom. In the future, it plans to also expand, among other, in Greece, Hungary, Poland, and Austria.
While Great Wall is engaged in export, nearly 70 percent of sales in 2009 came from central and western China.
After-sale care training
The company offers an after-sales service training course for employees of overseas distributors.
It is important to note that cars sold in the European Union, the Hover and Deer, may be marketed as commercial vehicles exempting them from EU safety standards. As of 2010, some Great Wall products including passenger vehicles and the new Hover (Haval H5) and Deer (Wingle 5) have obtained an EU whole vehicle type approval, an EU regime that tests road vehicles and approves them for production and sale in Europe. In 2012, the Haval H6 is planned to receive EU certification. The Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) in 2014 gave the Great Wall Motors V200 4x4 single cab ute a 3-star rating, which is rare for a car to get such a low safety rating with most new cars scoring 5 stars.
An Australian importer recalled Chinese-made cars of several brands including Great Wall due to discoveries of asbestos in gaskets.
There is an ongoing verification also in Europe to evaluate the presence of asbestos.
The company made appearances at all the Dakar Rally editions since 2010, racing with Haval H3 models. Its best rankings were achieved in the 2012 and 2013 editions, when the team finished 6th. At the 2014 edition, the team is competing with the new Haval H8 model.
Italian automaker Fiat has claimed that a Great Wall A-segment car, the Peri (Jing Ling in China), is a copy of its popular second generation Fiat Panda. A 2008 Turin court ruling substantiated the claim stating that the Great Wall Peri, “doesn’t look like a different car but is a [Fiat] Panda with a different front end.” A copyright infringement case in China did not arrive at the same conclusion.
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