By Nat Shirley
Monday, Apr 22nd, 2013 @ 3:56 pm
 
Chinese vehicles could arrive at a dealership near you in just a few years if Great Wall Motors' plans come to fruition.

Great Wall, China's largest builder of SUVs, expects to begin U.S. sales by 2015, company president Wang Fengying revealed to Automotive News.

The move would make it the first Chinese automaker to enter the U.S. market in volume.

"We started planning to enter the U.S. market two years ago," Fengying said. "We need to study its laws and regulations (on safety and emission) as well as consumer preferences."

The automaker is also weighing whether to build a U.S. factory.

"Since the United States is far away from China and its import tariffs on vehicles are not particularly high, we would prefer to build the vehicle locally," Fengying said.

Formed in 1976, Great Wall has found considerable domestic success as a producer of SUVs and pickups. It launched in Europe in 2010, and last year become the first Chinese automaker to assemble vehicles on the Old Continent when it opened a factory in Bulgaria that produces its Hover SUV, Steed pickup and Voleex city car.

Great Wall sold 677,000 vehicles worldwide in 2012, and is ambitiously targeting volume of 800,000 units this year. The automaker clearly also sees substantial potential for growth in the U.S., although it could face an uphill battle for consumer acceptance if it does indeed succeed at setting up shop stateside.