China's Great Wall Motor Company will export its cars to selected overseas markets using the UK-based car distribution company IM Group, which is already the UK distributor for Subaru, Daihatsu and Isuzu. Great Wall cars will be sold first in the Baltic states, and then, from 2011, in Scandinavia, the UK and Ireland.
IM Group would appear to be a natural conduit for initial distribution of products from a new player such as Great Wall. Over the last twenty years or so, most of the big car manufacturers have bought out their previously-independent UK import agents, leaving IM Group as one of the few remaining specialists in the field.
It is being emphasised that Great Wall vehicles will be compliant with all relevant European regulations, and will also meet similar standards of crash-worthiness to current European and Japanese models. That last point is especially important as the first Chinese models to be introduced to western markets, the Landwind SUV from Jiangling Motors and saloons from Brilliance, had their chances of success dented when they performed poorly in European safety tests.