WA car dealer John Hughes, who co-pioneered the importation of Korean cars into Australia with the Hyundai Excel in 1986, is poised to become the nation's first importer of Chinese passenger cars.
The Geely MK, a manual 1.5-litre sedan, will go on sale at his Geely dealership in Victoria Park in three weeks at an introductory price of $11,990 drive-away.
Mr Hughes will narrowly beat to the punch importer Ateco, whose Chery J1 light car is also due in the first quarter.
Ateco already imports the Chinese brand Great Wall but so far only SUVs and utes are on sale, with the first passenger car due in the third quarter.
The Geely MK, which is about the size of a Toyota Yaris sedan, will have 2011 plates and come with a five-year/100,000km warranty.
Its features include alloy wheels, reverse-parking sensors, electric windows, remote central locking, anti-lock brakes and two airbags.
A manual hatch version will follow in March.
Mr Hughes said the five-year warranty reflected his confidence in the quality of Geely products.
"Compared with the early Korean cars, the Chinese cars are streets ahead," he said. "I believe we can get a far quicker acceptance of the Chinese cars, partly because people can already see that in a lot of product areas China is already world class."
In the second half of the year, Mr Hughes intends to expand the Geely range with the Panda light car and the EC7, which is the same size as a Holden Cruze.
While the MK will be sold only in WA, future Geely models will be distributed nationally to a dealer network which Mr Hughes will develop.
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