Bulgaria 2011-2012: Where it all started for the Chinese in Europe
* See the Top 50 best-selling brands by clicking on the title! Many thanks to Kalo *
2012 will stay in the history of automobile as the year the Chinese started manufacturing cars in Europe. The Great Wall factory opened in Lovech, Bulgaria, in February 2012. This is planned as the focal point for Great Wall's expansion throughout Europe. For the moment three Great Wall models are produced in Bulgaria: the Voleex C10 hatchback, Hover H5 SUV and Steed Pick-up. It looks like the Voleex C30 sedan could also be added to Great Wall's Bulgarian factory lines soon.
Thanks to Kalo, one of our readers in the place, I can share with you the latest about Great Wall in Bulgaria. Before opening the factory last February, Great Wall launched in the country last year and sold 137 units for a 0.6% market share, placing it in 24th position in the 2011 brands ranking. At this stage Great Wall is the only Chinese manufacturer present in Bulgaria.
Great Wall production and dealership expansion has now started but is evolving relatively slowly for now. A few Voleex C10 and Hover can be seen on the roads but both sales and production seem to be symbolic at this stage. It will be fascinating to see where Great Wall stands in the first half 2012's brands ranking and beyond...
Back to Bulgaria as a whole: Bulgarian car sales were up 17% in 2011 to 22,550 registrations, and the title of top-selling brand changes hands to go to Volkswagen with 1,863 sales and 8.3% share, potentially thanks to excellent results of the Golf, Polo and Passat. Ford, leader in 2010, is down to #2 only 9 units below VW at 1,854. Toyota rounds up the podium but sees its share go from 8.8% in 2010 to 7.9% now.
In the Top 10 brands, Opel at #4 (+40%), Dacia at #6 (+30%) and Skoda at #7 (+120%) all progress much faster than the market. Premium brands did extremely well in Bulgaria in 2011: Mercedes is at +44%, BMW at +45%, Audi at +80%, Volvo at +50%, Lexus at +28%, Porsche at +79% and Jaguar at +122%. Notice Infiniti landing at #31 with 81 sales for its first year in the country.
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Full Year 2011 Top 50 Ranking Table below.