Great Wall Motors is expected to join the Chery brand already confirmed for a 2009 launch in Australia, according to a local report.

Drive.com.au said the automaker was testing vehicles in Australia in early 2008.

Sources have told the website Great Wall could be on sale within 12 months, selling alongside Chery, to be imported by Ateco Automotive, which also handles Fiat and Citroen in Australia.

Great Wall Motors makes a wide range of vehicles but the report said it is strongest in light commercial vehicles - including a range of pickup trucks (popularly known as 'utilities' or 'utes' down under) - where Australian interest is believed to lie.

Drive.com.au said Great Wall claims to be China's "largest maker of SUVs and pick-up trucks" but it was not known whether the vehicles sold in Australia would be called GWM or Great Wall.

Drive.com.au said it understood Great Wall would also be distributed by Ateco and that negotiations on a dealer network are under way.

Ateco spokesman Edward Rowe refused to comment to the website on whether Ateco was talking to the Great Wall brand.

"Ateco is speaking to a number of companies in China but the only one with which we have concluded a distribution agreement is Chery," Rowe said. "Discussions with other companies are ongoing."

Great Wall recently began exporting small numbers of vehicles to Africa and Russia, drive.com.au noted. It already has established distribution networks in 81 countries, assembles locally in a half-dozen and claims its vehicles "have run on the roads of 121 countries".