Giugiaro-styled BS2, BS4 Sedan & Wagon & BS6 Wagon available
Despite a series of crash test and homologation setbacks, Chinese automaker Brilliance is pressing ahead with its plans to sell cars across Europe - including the UK. And Hans-Ulrich Sachs, managing partner of the company's European distributor HSO Motors Europe, believes the company will make real progress in 2009.
In 2008, Brilliance's first full year of European sales, around 1,000 cars were sold in Brilliance's launch market, Germany. These were all Brilliance BS6 and BS4 large saloons. But this year, the addition of a BS4 estate and the smaller BS2 hatchback, on show in a "close to production version", should propel sales to around 6,000, Sachs believes.
"I'm quite confident we can achieve this as we have small series homologation for the BS4 and the BS6, and we are working on the BS2."
The Giugiaro-styled BS2, a Golf/Focus-sized five-door hatch, should be type approved for Europe by September or October, Sachs said. It will be priced at around €10-11,000, and its launch will coincide with Brilliance's move into other markets, including France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey and the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. A roll-out across the rest of mainland Europe will follow - and Sachs is hopeful right-hand drive production will start in 2010 or 2011 - and that will mean he'll be looking for a UK distributor. "We will begin looking for a partner as soon as it's clear when they will have right-hand drive cars."
The BS2 has been shown as a concept car before - but the BS4 Wagon was making its debut at Geneva this year. It's powered by 1.8-litre, 170hp engine, driving the front wheels through a six-speed gearbox. A 2-litre version will also be available -these powerplants have been developed by Brilliance in cooperation with FEV. Styling is by another Italian carosseria - Pininfarina. It'll be priced between €18-20,000.
Sachs hopes these models will provide a bedrock for growth - and Brilliance is planning more models for Europe. "Brilliance is working on the development of new car models at great pace," said Sachs. These include a new platform, a hybrid powertrain and "10 new car models, commencing in 2011, including an MPV, SUV and other family-suitable models."