Manufacturing News

Brilliance China hires new European distributor

Brilliance China isn't abandoning the European market after all.

Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd., BMW's joint-venture partner in China, has lined up a new distributor in Europe after halting vehicle shipments last month because of sluggish sales.

In April, Reuters reported that Brilliance had halted shipments of its BS4 and BS6 mid-sized and large sedans. The news service added that Brilliance had no timetable for resuming exports.

However, an executive confirms that the Chinese company has lined up a new distributor to help re-launch the brand in Europe -- perhaps as soon as 2011.

Shenhua Europe GmbH, which was launched in April, will replace HSO Motors Europe as Brilliance China's European distributor. Shenhua is based in Ginsheim, Germany, and its CEO is Eberhard Niering, the former manager of Hyundai Europe.

Niering told Automotive News Europe that his company will serve more than 1,000 Brilliance car owners in Europe. "Our first priority is rebuild the aftersales network to provide warranty service and regular maintenance to the Brilliance owners in Europe," Niering said.

When asked about plans to restart sales, Niering said it is part of the company's future strategy, but will not happen this year. "We are waiting for the right models," he said.

Brilliance originally hoped to sell about 30,000 cars a year in Europe. But from 2007 through 2009, it sold only 502 units.

Hans-Ulrich Sachs, the chief of Brilliance's former European importer, said last March that sales were poor because Brilliance refused to cut prices.

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