China's vehicle maker, Great Wall Motor Co and Bulgaria's Litex Motors will start production in the plant in the town of Lovech, Northern Bulgaria, in 2011, Litex Motors said.
Great Wall Motor Company, one of China's biggest automotive manufacturers, signed a joint venture (JV) deal with Bulgarian diversified holding company Litex Commerce in the presence of Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov on October 15.
The plant will have an annual production capacity of 50,000 units and assemble four different models – a sports utility vehicle (SUV), a pickup and two passenger car models.
The total initial investment is around EUR 80 M, potentially reaching EUR 300 M if the project is successful. The cars are expected to be sold under the Great Wall badge, boosting the firm's output from around 400,000 at present.
The project is considered to be nothing short of a coup for Bulgaria, which does not currently produce any passenger vehicles, though it does have a modest but successful automotive components industry.
The plant will surely be positioned squarely towards export markets – Europe and the Middle East have been cited – and by the time production commences, the automobile market is expected to be experiencing a post-slump upswing.