Angola: After BYD and Jin Bei, Portuguese company Hipogest negotiates entry of third Chinese car brand

16 June 2008

Lisbon, Portugal, 16 June – Car manufacturer representative Hipogest, headquartered in Lisbon, is negotiating the entry of a third Chinese car brand into Angola, after BYD and Jin Bei were launched there and will set up a large repair centre in Luanda.

Hipolito Pires, head of Hipogest, in an interview with Portuguese weekly, Expresso, last weekend, said that this year it should sell 500 cars in Angola, most of them manufactured in China.

“We could even sell more cars in Angola, but I want to provide full after-sales support for the vehicles. Whoever secures that image, conquers the market,” said Pires, who also represents BMW in Angola.

He added that among Hipogest’s objectives was also the setting up of a “large car repair centre” in Luanda.

“Our repair-shops in Angola offer the same quality as our Portuguese ones and we have invested heavily in training,” added Pires.

After an initial phase of association with Chinese car manufacturers, with an eye on the European market, on a project that aimed to create a vehicle assembly line in Portugal, Pires is now turning to African countries and, in particular, to Angola.

The Jin Bei Haise 2.7 diesel vans were approved for Europe but the businessman wants to sell them in Angola, where they will retail for about 13,000 euros.

In the Expresso interview, Pires said that the Chinese cars could create more competition for prices in Portugal, something positive for consumers, and that Chinese manufacturers are “learning quickly and have money” to invest, thus gaining on North American or European technology.

For the Portuguese market, the main focus is now on BYD’s hybrids, the F3DM and the F6DM, which should go on sale next year, with the aim of capitalising on current high fuel prices, which are forcing consumers to look for engines with lower consumption.

“BYD is the only Chinese electric and hybrid car manufacturer, having recently exhibited two models, the dual-mode hybrid and a purely electric model at the Beijing auto show,” said Pires.

Hipogest has a contract for the exclusive import of BYD vehicles to Portugal and Angola.

Pires points out the fact that BYD has cutting-edge lithium and cadmium battery technology at its disposal, and has been manufacturing such batteries since the mid 1990s.

The Chinese company grew rapidly and became the largest supplier of mobile phone batteries to Nokia and Motorola and in 2003 bought the Shaanxi Qinchuan Auto Company, in Xian, establishing BYD Auto.

The dual-mode model consists of a purely electric motor system and a hybrid electric system capable of reducing both consumption and emissions, whilst simultaneously offering high performance, the Portuguese newspaper wrote.

BYD currently employs over 40,000 people worldwide – it has factories in China, Japan and Spain – and is listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange.
Pires began working with Chinese brand Geely, for the Portuguese and Angolan markets.

The contract was signed during a visit by the Portuguese Prime Minister to China in 2007, when Pires was part of the official business delegation travelling with him.(macauhub)