Wei stamps surname on SUVs in show of confidence
A first in the Chinese auto industry, says the Great Wall Motor boss
SHUNSUKE TABETA, Nikkei staff writer
GUANGZHOU -- China's Great Wall Motor is looking to take on the world with its new Wey brand, said Chairman Wei Jianjun, who is so confident in the new upscale sport utility vehicle line that he put his own name on it.
The decision is in line with a long Chinese tradition of naming products after their creators, Wei told The Nikkei. "There are foreign brands named after founders, such as Toyota, but this is a first for the Chinese auto industry," he said.
The use of English letters reflects the company's ambition to make Wey a "global brand," Wei said.
"We're aiming for brand power that lasts for more than a century," the chairman said.
The Wey brand is intended to go head-to-head with such foreign heavyweights as Toyota Motor and Volkswagen, according to Wei.
"Great Wall has led the market for SUVs in the 100,000 yuan to 150,000 yuan [$14,450 to $21,675] range," he said. "Foreign brands are stronger in the 150,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan range, but we're going to build up [Wey] into a luxury brand to compete in that bracket."
The chairman cited the Toyota RAV4 and Volkswagen Tiguan as competitors while asserting that Wey has the edge in bang for the buck. "We've adopted quality standards on a par with Germany's Mercedes-Benz and BMW while keeping the price in the 150,000 yuan to 200,000 yuan range," he said.