Europe’s ongoing debt crisis has been crippling the Continental economy, sending automakers into a tailspin. By most estimates, European car sales will buck the global turnaround and post at least a modest decline this year.
But that could be good news for the Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor which hopes to appeal to increasingly budget-minded European buyers with models like the Hover SUV, Steed pickup and Voleex city car. All three will be produced at a new plant in the village of Bahovitsa, Bulgaria, and carry prices ranging from around $11,000 to $16,000.
While Bulgaria itself is not a name normally associated with car manufacturing what’s all the more significant is that the three products will be produced at what is the first Chinese-run auto plant in the European Union. The factory is part of a joint venture between Great Wall and its Bulgarian partner Litex Motors.