The first Chinese carmaker to assemble vehicles in the European Union has started production in Bulgaria.
Great Wall Motors, in partnership with Bulgarian car manufacturer Litex, plans to make 2,000 vehicles a year initially selling them locally before gradually expanding elsewhere in Europe with annual output rising to 50,000 by 2014.
Great Wall’s chief executive Wang Fengying said: “The quality of our products is the best in China, so we are confident that with the quality and low prices we are going to succeed in the Bulgarian market as well as in other European markets.”
The plant will employ 2,000 when it is at full capacity, producing four-wheel-drive vehicles, pick-up trucks and a compact car:
One of the initial 120 production line workers, Borislav Petrov, said: “I am glad I work here and that Bulgaria will become famous for its cars.”
The plant is part of Bulgaria’s efforts to attract foreign investment.
The fact that the country is an EU member means Great Wall Motors can sell cars elsewhere in Europe without paying additional import taxes.