Chery, Great Wall want to enter Indian car market

The Chinese dragon has set its eyes on the Indian car market. Two biggies Chery Automobile and Great Wall Motors are planning to enter India soon through joint ventures, senior company officials said at Shanghai Motor Show.

“We are looking at a joint venture partner for India as it holds a good potential for car sales in the coming time,” Chery Automobile president Yin Tongyao said. He termed India as a “very important” market and said the company was looking at “several proposals” for finalising a local partner.

Chinese carmakers are shifting focus from their main markets like US and Europe as volumes there are shrinking due to the global slowdown. At the same time, India’s rising status as one of the fastest-growing car markets in the world, spells opportunities.

Chery was believed to be in talks with tractor maker Sonalika’s car venture, International Cars & Motors Ltd (ICML), around three years back to roll out its small car in India. But the talks never fructified into a joint venture. Chery, famous for its small car QQ, is eyeing sales of 4.19 lakh units in 2009, an 18% increase over 2008. The QQ comes in two petrol engine sizes 0.8-litre and 1.1-litre.

Gavin Chen, marketing specialist with Chery’s international division, said the company plans to sell cars in India by 2010. “While initially we will look for a distributor, the final plan is to build a factory in India.” Chen said the company saw India as a big market due to its huge population and thus wanted to develop some specific models. “The plan is to make cars at good price with good quality,” he added.

Great Wall Motor (GWM) listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange is China’s largest privately-owned car maker and specializes in SUV and utility models, while recently expanding into the multi-purpose vehicle and hatchback segment.

Chris Guan, GWM’s South Asian region GM, said the company wanted to launch at least one or two models in India this year. “We are currently evaluating partnerships. Initially, we are looking for a distributor for which we have been contacted by some companies,” he said.

On 100%-plus import duties, he said the company wanted to have a partner that can assemble the models. “If the partner has a factory, the customs duty can be reduced,” he said. GWM sold 1.25 lakh units in 2008 and exports cars to countries like Russia, Ukraine, Egypt, Senegal and the Middle-East region.

Source: Times Of India