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Sunday, 21 December 2014

Lloyd Group signs franchise agreement with Chinese car maker

Vehicles made in China are on sale in Cumbria for the first time.

Lloyd Group has signed a franchise agreement with the Chinese manufacturer Great Wall Motor.

It is selling two models of the Steed 4x4 pick up from Lloyd Limited’s premises in Kingstown Broadway, Carlisle.

The Steed is the cheapest 4x4 double-cab pick-up available in the UK.

The two-litre Steed S is listed at £13,998 and the higher-specification SE at £15,998.

Finance is available with a £1 deposit from £198 a month.

At these prices, Lloyd is predicting that Great Wall will take the market by storm.

Head of marketing Terry Hall said: “We are the only Great Wall dealership in Cumbria and southern Scotland.

“We are excited about working with the Chinese because we believe they will become a force.

“What they bring is lower manufacturing costs.

“They are looking to find ways into new markets, just as the Japanese did in the 1950s and 1960s.”

Lloyd expects the Steed to appeal to commercial users, such as farmers and forestry contractors, and to the leisure 4x4 market including buyers who thought an off-road vehicle was beyond their budget. Great Wall is the first Chinese motor manufacturer to export to the UK.

It will launch a highly-equipped sports-utility vehicle, the H6, shortly.

George Lloyd, sales manager of the new Carlisle franchise, said: “We have been selling used pick-ups from Lloyd Ltd’s premises. It was clear that there was a market opportunity to expand.

“Great Wall is known for highly-specified trucks that represent uncompromising value for money. This franchise, we believe, is another encouraging sign of Lloyd Group’s confidence in the local economy.”

The Steed has attracted favourable reviews in the motoring press.

Autocar said: “The good news is that the Steed drives in a similar way to the majority of its rivals, despite its bargain-basement price tag and unfamiliar name.

“The Steed makes a good case for itself for those on a budget and wanting decent equipment levels.”

Great Wall was founded in 1976 but began exporting to the UK only this year. It has a reputation for tough, reliable, double-cab pick-ups.

Sales should top 600,000 vehicles this year, most of them in China, but the company aims to more than double that figure to 1.3m by 2015 – driven in part by exports.

Until now, Great Wall has exported mainly to emerging markets such as Russia and South Africa.

But company chairman Wei Jianjun recently outlined plans to target Europe.

Long term, Great Wall aims to challenge the likes of General Motors and Mercedes-Benz.

The company is building a £500m technical centre at its home base of Baoding, an industrial city 90 miles southwest of Beijing.

It has hired Andreas Deufel, formerly of Mercedes-Benz, to design more original vehicles.

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