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Great Wall Motor to appeal vs ruling on Europe ban

From Reuters| July 22 , 2008 08:54 BJT

China's Great Wall Motor Co will appeal against a Turin court's ruling to ban it from selling a compact car in the European Union because it too closely resembles Fiat's FIA.M Panda, a lawyer for the Chinese company said on Monday.

"There is no doubt that we will appeal against the ruling," he said, although he added that the company was still working on its response to last week's decision.

The Turin court ruled that Great Wall should pay a 15,000 euro ($23,810) fine for the first compact GWPeri imported into Europe, while further violations would carry fines of 50,000 euros per imported car, Automotive News reported over the weekend.

"We cannot accept the ruling. Let me reiterate that GWPeri was developed on our own and has no similarity to the Panda," said Great Wall spokesman Shang Yugui.

He added that a suit filed by Fiat in China was still awaiting a decision.

Last October, a Fiat spokeswoman in China said the Italian firm had started legal proceedings against Great Wall in China and in Europe over the similarity of the GWPeri and the Panda.

Great Wall, China's largest sport utility vehicle maker, started selling the GWPeri in mid-March in China priced at 43,900 yuan to 55,800 yuan ($6,430 - $8,173).

The company has sold around 4,000 of the vehicles, which are also available in the Middle East, South America and Russia, Shang said.

Great Wall's Hong Kong-listed shares rose 2.57 percent on Monday to HK$5.59, in line with a 2.76 percent rise in Hong Kong's China Enterprises Index. 

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