Great Wall Motor in green car push in 2011

CHENGDU, China Thu Sep 16, 2010 3:32am EDT

CHENGDU, China (Reuters) - Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Co Ltd will begin trial sales of its pure electric cars in the country next year, its chairman said on Thursday, tapping growing demand for clean energy vehicles.

The company also expected sales in the second half of the year to rise from the first six months, Chairman Wei Juanjun told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Global Automotive Forum.

"I believe the second half will be better than the first half for China's car market, and our sales will be better," Wei said.

The car maker had a full-year export sales target of 50,000 vehicles this year, and had already sold 30,000 in the first six months of 2010, it said earlier.

The company said it would keep its electric car for domestic sale, with no immediate plans to export these vehicles.

"We will display our electric car at the Guangzhou auto show and will start trial sales next year," Wei said, as car makers rush to put out clean energy vehicles amid government subsidies to promote growth in the sector.

Great Wall was the biggest SUV maker in China with an about 12 percent market share in the first half of 2010 compared with 10.8 percent for Dongfeng Honda and 9 percent for FAW Toyota, analysts said.

The company sees huge growth potential in the sector as SUVs now make up about 9 percent of total passenger vehicles sales volume in China against 30 percent in developed countries.

In terms of sales, sport utility vehicles accounted for 45 percent, pickup trucks 27 percent, sedans 20 percent, and with others making up the remaining 8 percent in the first half of 2010.

Great Wall's first-half net profit more than tripled to 867 million yuan and exports accounted for about 14 percent of total revenue. here

Its shares have risen 85 percent this year, outperforming rivals such as Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, which is down nearly 30 percent.

(Reporting by Alison Leung, writing by Kelvin Soh; Editing by Chris Lewis)