Made in China….Bargains ahead?
This month sees the launch of the first Chinese vehicle brand in the UK.
The conveniently named Great Wall motor company have decided to launch the Steed pickup truck as their inaugural entrant into the UK marketplace. The Steed is only going to be available in two specification levels, the S and the SE, however, initial On The Road (OTR) prices look to be very promising for prospective customers. Ranging between £10,000 & £15,000, making the Steed the cheapest pickup available on the UK market.
Looking to join their compatriots in the UK marketplace is Geely Automobiles, their vehicle the Emgrand EC7 is set for UK launch in Autumn/Winter of 2012. Again, the Emgrand is targeting the bargain hunters of the automotive market, with expected OTR costings to be the same as the Steed for a Skoda Octavia sized hatchback/saloon. The finished product may not be as refined as it’s European designed counterparts, however, taking into consideration Geely’s parent company owns Volvo and the fact they have promised to launch a new model every year for the next 4 years, I don’t think it will be long before the finished article is as we would expect as European customers, with the engineering and ride we would expect from a Volvo.
These new brands may serve to shake up the more readily recognisable names in the UK marketplace, who within 2-3 years could be charging thousands of pounds more for an equally equipped vehicle. (take note Vauxhall, Ford et al) However, one European brand looking to take the fight to this most recent wave from the Eastern front is Renault/Nissan.
It has been known for a while that their own bargain brand Dacia was finally going to be arriving in the UK, this is looking likely to be around the end of 2012 or possibly the beginning of 2013. It has also been uttered in certain circles, Lada (yes, remember them?) could be re-launching in the UK to join Dacia in the bargain bucket battle against their Chinese competition.
This however, has been unconfirmed and as Renault/Nissan own a 25% stake in the holding company of Lada it would make more viable sense to relaunch Datsun to assist Dacia. This no doubt will remain unconfirmed until after the launch of Dacia and interest has been gauged fully in the “bargain buy” market sector.
Hopefully, the arrival of these well equipped, low price vehicles will help small businesses and younger personal contract hire customers get into the world of leasing and enable them to have a brand new car. For small businesses they could forget about the worry of high cost older vehicles and for the parents of younger drivers, piece of mind knowing that their children are in brand new cars.