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Great Wall Motor says little affected by Fiat dispute

From Reuters| July 25 , 2008 08:46 BJT

HONG KONG, July 25 (Reuters) - Great Wall Motor Co said it did not anticipate an Italian court order barring it from selling its GWPeri compact car in the European Union would have a substantial impact on its operations.

The Chinese car maker said in a statement issued on Friday that the Court of Turin had on July 16 delivered the order in summary proceedings before formal proceedings following a design dispute brought against the company by Fiat Group Automobiles.

Great Wall said it was preparing documents for an appeal.

A lawyer for Great Wall had said earlier on this week that the Chinese car maker would appeal against the Italian court ruling that bars it from selling the compact car in the European Union because it too closely resembles Fiat's Panda.

Great Wall said Fiat had in June last year filed a claim in the Shijiazhuang Intermediate People's Court alleging the infringement of Fiat's patent by the company but that no judgement had yet been reached.

The Chinese car maker said it did not expect the dispute on the mainland to have any immediate material adverse effects on its operations, business or financial position.

Great Wall, China's largest sport utility vehicle (SUV) maker, started selling the GWPeri in March in China, priced at 43,900 yuan to 55,800 yuan ($6,430-8,173), and it has chosen Italy as its entry point for Europe.

Shares of Great Wall have fallen more than 51 percent so far in 2008 to end at HK$5.49 on Thursday.

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