Dongfeng begins export of self-developed Fengshen
Updated: 2012-08-20 15:27
By Xu Xiao in Wuhan (China Daily)
Fengshen, or God of Wind, poses with a Fengshen S30 at an auto show in Hainan province. Shi Yan / For China Daily
Domestic automaker Dongfeng began to export its independently developed Fengshen S30 on Aug 16, marking a milestone in its overseas expansion strategy.
The first batch of 4,000 S30s for export were built at the Dongfeng Passenger Car Co based in Wuhan, Hubei province.
The shipment destined for Venezuela is the largest in the company's history.
But it is not the first time the Dongfeng Fengshen has ventured overseas.
In 2010, its S30 and H30 models began a journey to "conquer five continents" on a test drive starting from Shanghai.
Overcoming extreme conditions along the way, the fleet passed through 134 cities in 21 countries to successfully conclude the 51,000 km journey.
Dongfeng has also made long preparations to enter the Russian market, said a company executive.
For the first time on a formal occasion, a high-level Dongfeng executive noted Russia's strategic importance to the company.
Zhu Fushou, general manager of Dongfeng Motor Corp, stressed the carmaker has high hopes for sales in the neighboring country.
At the ceremony to mark its South American exports last Thursday, Zhu said 2.8 million vehicles were sold in Russia last year, 90 percent of them made by its own domestic producers.
Four Chinese automakers - Chery, Geely, Lifan and Great Wall - sold only about 100,000 of the total number.
Zhu told reporters that Dongfeng has been making plans to enter the Russian market since 2006. It established a branch company in the country last year, mainly for market surveys and research.
"Dongfeng will be in the Russian market in many aspects, not only in sales, but also in research and development," he added. "Russia will become an inseparable market for Dongfeng."
The company had a good sales performance on its home turf of China in the first seven months of the year.
It sold 32,253 cars in the period, year-on-year growth of 104.5 percent at a time when large-volume domestic carmakers recorded declining numbers. Combined sales by domestic brands dropped 5.5 percent from January to July.
Last October, Dongfeng released a plan named "D300" to drive the development of its wholly owned brands. Dongfeng Fengshen is the focus of this strategy.
The automaker said it plans to invest 30 billion yuan ($4.7 billion) to boost its independently developed passenger cars in the next five years.