BEIJING -- Automaker Great Wall Motor will spend aggressively in green technologies as it works to keep up with rapid changes in consumer tastes in China.
Echoing other representatives of major Chinese companies attending the National People's Congress through Wednesday, Great Wall Motor CEO Wang Fengying stressed the need to keep innovating. Excerpts from the interview with The Nikkei follow.
Q: What will be the focus areas going forward?
A: We will bolster research and development in three pillars of new energy vehicles -- electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids chargeable at home and fuel cell vehicles. We will roll out a plug-in hybrid sport utility vehicle by the end of this year. We are planning to establish the capacity to produce 600,000 new-energy vehicles a year, and we'll make core parts as well. We will invest a total of 60 billion yuan ($8.67 billion) over the next decade in basic technology for new energy vehicles, development of vehicles and core parts and many research and development facilities.
Q: What is the sales target for 2017?
A: We aim to increase new-vehicle sales by at least 10% this year. Until now, SUVs priced between 100,000 yuan to 150,000 yuan were the mainstay. Going forward, we will focus on SUVs in the 150,000-200,000 yuan price range. To that end, we have created the new brand Wey. We aim to sell 2 million units (double 2016 levels) in 2020.
Q: How would you develop partnerships with foreign companies?
A: A foreign parts maker with which we formed a strategic partnership has constructed a parts plant in Baoding, Hebei Province, where we operate an assembly plant. We have also opened a technical center in Yokohama, Japan. We hope to strengthen partnerships with Japanese companies. In overseas expansion, we will focus on Australia, South Africa and Russia.
Interviewed by Nikkei staff writer Shunsuke Tabeta