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Great Wall Motor to sell pickups in Italy this year

From Reuters| July 29 , 2008 15:12 BJT

Great Wall Motor Co, China's largest sport utility vehicle (SUV) maker, will start selling a pickup truck in Italy later this year, its second vehicle in the west European market, a company executive said on Monday.

Great Wall began shipping its Hover SUV to Italy in late 2006, although another vehicle, the compact GWPeri, was banned from sale in the European Union by a Turin court last week, which said the car too closely resembled Fiat's Panda.

Great Wall said it was preparing documents for an appeal against the ruling.

A Fiat lawsuit in China alleging infringement of its patent on the Panda was dismissed by a Chinese court in the northern city of Shijiazhuang, Great Wall said in a statement over the weekend.

The Wingle pickup, which has won approval for sale in the European Union from VCA, a designated European vehicle type approval authority, will initially be sold via Great Wall's existing network in Italy and Romania, the executive told Reuters.

The pickup will be priced at $10,000 to $12,000 in Italy, compared with the domestic price of 80,000 to 100,000 yuan ($11,720-14,650), said the Great Wall executive, who declined to be named.

The executive gave no sales target for the pickup, which was launched in China and several other emerging markets in March 2007.

Great Wall is among a growing number of ambitious Chinese automakers, including the country's biggest automaker, SAIC Motor Corp, hoping to emulate the global success of their Japanese and South Korean rivals.

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