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EXCLUSIVE: Chinese carmakers say UK still on for late 2008

Date: 30 April 2008   |   Author: Guy Bird

Some of the breeze might have blown out of Landwind's proposed UK debut this summer with the departure of its European MD Paul Williams earlier this year, but the brand says it's still on course to be the first Chinese car manufacturer to arrive on UK shores by late 2008.

The Rover (reborn as Roewe), Geely, Chery and Great Wall brands could all follow within three years.

Landwind's European sales director, Robert Pronk told BusinessCar: "We'll be the first one. As far as we know we're the only Chinese brand with an EU type-approved car. Other brands are a year or more away."

Pronk says its X-pedition compact 4x4 will be first this autumn followed by the Fashion seven-Seat MPV. He refused to go into details about a sales process but said all would be revealed this summer and that the firm was confident its car would gain a three-star NCAP crash rating.

New brand Roewe showed the highly competent 550, a VW Bora-sized saloon, at the Beijing motor show last week to slot under its 750 (the old Rover 75). It goes on sale in China in late 2008 with a plan for Europe not long after.

UK Subaru and Daihatsu distributor IM Group is in ongoing talks "too sensitive to divulge" with several Chinese carmakers, but reckons 2010 is still a feasible UK launch date.