Two of the cars of the Chinese motor company Great Wall to be made in the Bulgarian city of Lovech made their debut, the site "Automedia.bg" informs.
The models Hover and Steed were shown for the first time over the weekend during the first round of the Bulgarian close-circuit race "Pista Litex." They were used as official automobiles of the race.
The site reports the two vehicles have generated very strong interest among the audience. This has also been the first time when the company revealed the technical characteristics of their future production.
The prices are still kept secret, but Great Wall say their automobiles will offer customers the best price and quality, according to current car manufacturing global trends.
The construction of the plant is in advanced stage with an expected production start date in the second half of 2011 when the small passenger car Voleex, the Steed pickup, and the SUV Hover will be launched.
The Voleex price in China is about BGN 12 500.
The joint venture plant will have an annual production capacity of 50 000, which are expected to be sold in European Union countries.
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 market and by the time production commences, the automobile market is expected to be experiencing a post-slump upswing.
This may also be the last chance for the revival of the local automobile industry after in mid 1990s Rover set up a joint venture with the Bulgarian Daru Group in Varna, which failed because of a weak market strategy, high prices, and a stronger competitor in the face of Skoda.