Atecos Australian Great Wall pickup range includes high-spec V240 with four wheel drive

Ateco's Australian Great Wall pickup range includes high-spec V240 with four wheel drive

IM Group, the UK-based importer and distributor for Subaru, Isuzu and Daihatsu, said on Tuesday its planned launch of the Chinese Great Wall brand was on target for the first quarter of 2011.

IM last December announced the signing of an agreement that would see it import the Chinese automaker's vehicles into Europe starting this year. Initially, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania would be targeted.  Then, from 2011, launches in Scandinavia, the UK and Ireland are planned.

IM spokeswoman Kate Bishop said the UK launch was on target but could not provide details or planned model specifics.

Great Wall launched a two-model pickup truck line into right hand drive Australia - expected to be a 1m-unit total vehicle market this year - last June, pitching highly specified models against the Thai-built Japanese rivals and Holden's locally made pickup. Importer Ateco said was offering Great Wall to give buyers a "genuine opportunity to enter the new car market at the equivalent of a second-hand price".

IM said last year Great Wall, one of the few privately-owned Chinese car companies, had designed and built all of the European-bound models specifically to meet EU whole-vehicle type approval standards.

"This will ensure that Great Wall models deliver high standards of crash-worthiness, equal to those of modern European and Japanese vehicles." 

IM Group has operated in China for over 15 years and employs 40 at its Beijing office.

TEN THINGS: Great Wall Motor Corporation

Great Wall to expand foreign assembly