Portuguese vehicle distributors compete to import Chinese cars

16 January 2006

Lisbon, Portugal, 16 Jan – Portuguese car importer Santogal and its competitor Sociedade Hispânica de Automóveis (SHA) are competing for the concession to import Chinese cars into Portugal, which Santogal believes to have great sales potential, the company’s president, Fernando Martorell, told Portuguese financial daily, Diário Económico.

The president of SHA, Hipólito Pires, told Macauhub last week that the first Geely models would begin to be sold in July, and added that the company was negotiating with a second Chinese manufacturer to import a commercial pick up truck.

Martorell also refused to tell Diário Económico which Chinese manufacturers his company aims to represent in Portugal, but said that it is assessing potential partnerships after visiting China at the end of last year.

“First we want to evaluate the impact on the market, as the forecast for sales is for 2007 and 2008,” Martorell said.

Chinese vehicles, he said, “are still far from fulfilling requirements in terms of the environment, and in terms of safety,” Santogal’s president told the paper.

The two Geely models to be sold in Portugal – the “CK” and the “MA503” – compete in the segment that is currently led by the Opel Astra and Renault Mégane, but at lower prices.

SHA will also be responsible for selling the vehicles in Spain, which will take place at a later date, and is looking at introducing the Geelys in Angola.

Another Chinese car manufacturer due to enter the Iberian markets is Jiangling, through Spanish importer Sino Motors.

Car manufacturer Chery is also studying entry into the Spanish market in partnership with the Bergé group, which will be a launching pad for the Latin American market, where it believes potential is great for low cost Chinese vehicles. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH