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Chinese go-ahead for UK car launch

Chinese manufacturer Landwind has received European type approval for the two vehicles it plans to launch in the UK next year.

NCAP crash test ratings for the Ex-pedition SUV and the Fashion MPV are expected to follow early next month.

Landwind was the first Chinese manufacturer to launch into Europe two years ago but got its fingers burnt, failing a crash test.

Paul Williams, managing director of European distributor LWMC, said: “We always said we were looking to sell RHD cars (in the UK) by the second or third quarter of next year and we will still be able to make that target.

“There has been a lot of interest but groups are saying they want to see what we have to offer first. The main interest is from regionals and small groups. It will come in stages – the larger groups will be interested once we have established ourselves.”

He added: “Investments have been made to ensure the vehicles meet Euro 4 emissions and crash test requirements. We expect to get a three-star NCAP rating, which is perfectly acceptable for the cars we are selling.”

The two vehicles will be launched with 2.4-litre Mitsubishi petrol engines only, although LPG and bioethanol will also be available. A 2.5-litre diesel will follow once Italian engine builder VM has established its plant in China.

Williams believes Landwind will be able to establish its vehicles as value models.

“There are opportunities for no nonsense, value for money vehicles with a simplicity of offer and choice.

“We will have a pan-European pricing and margin policy – although there will be regional variations on the VAT rate. There will be limited specification options and just three colour choices.”

Those will be silver, black and metallic blue.

Williams said: “Short term, we are happy with two products targeted at particular niches – we do not expect to start playing in the volume sectors straightaway. In the future, we will be looking at a vehicle in the A/B or B/C sector.”

Distributor LWMC is based in Antwerp, Belgium, and Landwind in China is part of Jianling Motor Holdings, which has joint ventures in China with Ford and Mazda and also produces its own commercial vehicles.

Landwind Fashion

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