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Now, Chinese auto giant eyes Gujarat

Great Wall Motor Co visits state, explores sites at Sanand and Halol

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seems to be emerging as a favourite investment destination for automobile companies worldwide. After domestic carmakers such as , , and made Gujarat their home, a leading Chinese automobile company Great Wall Motor is now eyeing the state as potential destination to set up its manufacturing base in India.

Ltd (GWM) is one of the leading non-government automobile companies in China which is listed in the Hong Kong stock exchange.  The company posted a turnover of 30.141 billion yuan ( Rs 26,288.6 crore) in 2011 and an operating profit of 4.079 billion yuan (Rs 3557.6 crore) in 2011, its website said.

According to a senior state government official, "Officials of Great Wall Motor had visited Gujarat sometime back to survey possibilities for setting up of a manufacturing plant in the state. They were shown land at Sanand (where Tata Motors and Ford India have parked their plants) and at Halol (where General Motors India operates its plant)." He added that the state government is awaiting feedback from the company. Investment could be to the tune of Rs 2000-3000 crore.

GWM makes sports utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickups, and the current product range comprises three main categories of Haval SUV, Great Wall PC and Wingle Pickup. The company has production bases at Baoding and Tianjin areas of China with an overall production capacity of 800,000 vehicles per annum.

"At present, Great Wall Motor's vehicles have already been exported to more than 100 countries with more than 800 overseas sales networks scattering in over 80 countries all over the world.", said the company website. Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Russia, Australia, South Africa, Italy, Chile have been the major export countries and regions for GWM.  It has over 30 holding subsidiaries with more than 48,000 employees.

GWM has been listed in “the Forbes Top 100 Chinese Enterprises” twice, and ranked 49th in the Interbrand “Most Valuable Chinese Brands 2012” with a brand value of 1.871 billion yuan (approximately Rs 1631.8 crore).

A senior official at the Society of Indian Autmobile Manufacturers (SIAM) too confirmed the development saying that GWM is indeed eyeing India, and is considering the states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu for its prospective production site.

Gujarat has off late seen the entry of big-ticket automobile projects after Tata Motors shifted its project from Singur (West Bengal) in 2008 to Sanand in Gujarat. Ford India has already started work on its upcoming facility at Sanand, while Maruti Suzuki is all set to start work on its plant this year. French car maker Peugeot too had selected Gujarat for its India manufacturing unit, and was eventually allotted land at Sanand. It, however, could not make payments for land owing to the financial crisis the company is facing in Europe.

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