An SUV Called Great Wall: Cheaper Chinese Vehicles May Come to U.S.
With the average sticker price of a new vehicle topping $30,000, David Shelburg plans to introduce American consumers to a cheaper alternative—Chinese designed and built vehicles.Shelburg’s company, China Motor I & E Inc. of Scottsdale, Ariz., has four Chinese-made car models on display, which he hopes to someday distribute through dealerships across the nation.Shelburg says three of the largest Chinese automakers – Great Wall Automobile Holding Co. Ltd., China Zhejiang Geely Group Ltd. and Go Now – have partnered with him to distribute vehicles in the United States. He says he has set up 30 China Motor dealerships across the country.Ranging from $9,000 to $15,000, Shelburg’s vehicles range from passenger cars such as the Geely Solo to trucks such as the Great Wall sport-utility vehicle and the Great Wall Deer pickup. “Our goal is to reach out to the American people with gas being like it is,” Shelburg says.Shelburg will try to quell fears of poor quality by offering a 36,000-mile, three-year bumper-to-bumper warranty to each vehicle sold. An extended warranty could be renewed throughout the length of ownership.Shelburg expects his first shipload in the beginning of December this year, though government approval and regulations may delay that date. To meet the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requirements, Shelburg must adjust catalyst converters and gas tanks to pass emission tests. He must also supply documents to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration such as proof of meeting emissions standards and proper safety equipment. He says the process is underway.Shelburg, 75, is nonetheless optimistic. “My deal with EPA is once everything is cleared I could bring in 15,000,” he says. “We hope to be doing down the road from six thousand to 100,000 cars a year and a million cars down the road.”