China's automakers are launching their first wave of new cars in Europe.

Brilliance Jinbei Automobile Co. starts sales in Germany in September of its Zhonghua sedan, which is built in the same factory as BMWs. Brilliance aims to sell 20,000 units a year in Europe, Automotive News Europe reported.

FAW-Hongta Yunnan Automobile Co. plans to sell 10,000 units a year of its Happy Emissary minicar throughout Europe through an Italian dealer group starting in early 2006.

Ford partner Jiangling Motors Corp. has sold 300 Landwind SUVs in the Netherlands in only three weeks of sales.

The Chinese automakers bringing their cars to Europe are not yet chasing high volumes. They want to prove they can sell their vehicles in the world's toughest market.

"Selling the Zhonghua in Europe is a symbol that our cars are good enough for export," said Lu Qiang, a Beijing-based spokesman for Brilliance.

"Right now we don't have a plan to export to the US," he said, adding that competing in Europe "will allow American consumers to see that our cars are good enough for export."

The Zhonghua sedan is built at Brilliance's joint-venture factory with BMW in Shenyang near China's border with North Korea. The plant also builds BMW's 3- and 5-series models for China.

Euro Motors, based in Gibraltar, will import the Zhonghua to Europe.

Managing director Alfred Willner said the Zhonghua will compete with the Opel Vectra and the Audi A4 by offering more extras and equipment at prices less than €20,000. Vectra models start at €20,145, while an entry-level A4 costs €23,900. Euro Motors wants to create a European dealer network by April 2006.

Jiangling's independent Dutch importer Peter Bijvelds said he has sold 300 Landwinds in the Netherlands. Bijvelds now plans to sell the Isuzu Trooper copy in Germany. Jiangling is 30% owned by Ford and based in Nanchang, southern China.