Bulgarian State Becomes 1st Large Great Wall SUV ClientBusiness | April 5, 2012, Thursday // 12:31| views
L-R: Chinese Ambassador to Bulgaria Guo Yezhou, Litex Motors owner Grisha Ganchev, Great Wall CEO Wang Feng Ying, Bulgarian PM Borisov, Bulgarian EconMin Traikov at the Litex Motors factory opening. Photo by dnevnik.bg
The Litex Motors factory near the northern Bulgarian city of Lovech which manufactures Great Wall automobiles already has a big client.
The news was reported by the Bulgarian National Radio, BNR.
The new customer is the Northwestern State Enterprise in the city of Vratsa, which was established in October 2011 with a decree of Agriculture Minister, Miroslav Naydenov, and manages State forest and hunting estates in the regions of Vidin, Montana, Vratsa, Pleven and in parts of the regions of Lovech and Sofia.
Workers and forest rangers will now use Hover SUVs. The 10 car keys were officially bestowed by Naydenov at the opening of the "Week of Forests 2012" in Vratsa.
The Minister informed that each SUV costs BGN 24 000 without Value Added Tax, VAT, and vowed that all forest rangers in Bulgaria will soon be able to drive such automobiles.
The car manufacturing plant near Lovech came to life seventeen years after Bulgaria's last failed attempt to revive its automobile industry.
The first car of the Chinese company Great Wall assembled near Bulgaria's Lovech was rolled out in the middle of November 2011.
With the opening of its new plant in Bulgaria on February 21, 2011, Great Wall Motors becomes the first Chinese automaker to assemble cars in the European Union.
The joint factory of Litex Motors and Great Wall is located at the village of Bahovitsa near Lovech.
Cars produced by China's Great Wall already hit the Bulgarian market in October last year through a network of twelve representative show rooms across the country.
Voleex C10 sedan, Hover H5 SUV and Steed pickup are the three different vehicle models, which Chinese car maker Great Wall Motor Co and Bulgarian company Litex Motors will produce in the town of Lovech, Northern Bulgaria, at very competitive prices.
Expectations are for a furor not least because of the cars' low prices. 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 at the end of 2009.
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, which are expected to be sold in European Union countries.
The total initial investment is around EUR 97 M, potentially reaching EUR 300 M if the project is successful. The Chinese company has secured 10% of the money, the remainder was forked out by Litex Motors, owned by petrol businessman and owner of Litex football club Grisha Ganchev.
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.
At the ceremony in Vratsa, the Marketing Director of Litex Motors, Ivo Dekov, announced that the company will start making three new models by the end of the year - Voleex C30, the C30r model, and the new Hover H6.
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