Great Wall Motors Co., Ltd.
Overview: With SUVs and Pickups on the Highway to Success
Great Wall Motors Co., Ltd. (GWM) is China's leading SUV and pickup manufacturer and one of the ten largest car manufacturers in China. It was founded in 1976 and is a privately-owned company. GWM is headquartered in Boading City and has more than 30 subsidiaries.
Till 2015, GWM is planning to sell 1.3 million vehicles per year
With its existing production bases, GWM has already reached its production capacity of 800,000 vehicles and car components and therefore plans to build a new facility in the near future.
In the past, GWM faced some trouble, due to allegations of copied car models. Affected was for example the Italian car brand Fiat. However, the prosecution was not successful.
In the near future, GWM is focusing on increasing its vehicle production and boosting its car sales. The ambitious objective is to realize sales of 1.3 million units and a production capacity of 1.5 million units, by 2013.
Internationalization Strategy: Great Wall Vehicles for Everybody
GWM is one of the leaders in terms of export quantity and export turnover among Chinese car manufacturers. Vehicles of GWM have already been sold in more than 100 different countries and regions around the world. Europe, Central and South America, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Russia, Australia, South Africa, Italy and Chile have been the major export markets for GWM. In 2012, nearly 100,000 vehicles were exported to foreign countries.
GWM is one of the biggest car exporters in China
The first vehicles in the European market were sold in 2006. Especially GWM's small vans were in demand here. In 2009, the company opened the door to the Australian market, where no other Chinese car manufacturer operated before.
To strength its international presence, GWM has great interest in founding overseas knock-down-factories. Ten of them already exist, with others to be built until 2020. Next to the already existing ones in Bulgaria, Russia, Africa and Asia, GWM also plans to build one in Brazil.
R&D and Intellectual Property: R&D - Driver for the Future
GWM's R&D division mainly consists of four segments: A testing center, a trial production center, a modeling center and a CAE center. At present, the R&D division engages a team of over 5,000 employees. This number will increase in the near future as GWM plans to boost its R&D work force to 10,000 professional technicians by 2015. This plan is supported by an investment of USD 800 mn, in order to achieve a leading position in the automobiles R&D division around the world.
To improve its R&D objective productivity GWM has established cooperation with foreign companies, including Autoliv, Siemens, BorgWarner and Robert Bosch GmbH. These partners support the company especially in the fields of technical assistance, engines, transmission, airbags and electronic systems.
Untill 2015, GWM wants to invest
another USD 800 mn in R&D
Electric vehicles paly a very dominant role in GWM's ambition to become more influential in the future car industry. Therefore, it made huge investments in exploring technologies for new energy vehicles. The first achievement was presented at the 2010 Guangzhou Auto Show, an all-electric SUV. To strengthen its potential in the field of electric vehicles, GWM plans to cooperate with the electric car manufacturer Coda Automotive.
The chart below represents GWM's distribution of patent and utility model applications over time. The difference between a patent and an utility model is the durability and the strength of protection. Patents are protected for twenty years, while utility models are only protected for ten years. Thus, an utility model can be described as a weaker form of patent.
GWM filed its first applications in the year 2007, which demonstrates the company's late focus on R&D. After a moderate increase of applications in the following years, the number of utility model applications exploded in 2010. Within one year, applications quadrupled from around twenty in 2009 to more than 90 in 2010. GWM appears to have recognized the great importance of patent and utility model applications. As mentioned before, the company wants to double its number of its R&D work force and further its investments. Therefore, it is very probable that the growth of the intellectual property portfolio will even further in the future.
The next chart depicts the distribution of patent and utility model applications across the different geographical areas. Until now, there has not been a single application in foreign regions. This is very surprising, as GWM is a leading exporter in the Chinese automobile industry. Therefore, protection of its intellectual properties in foreign countries could be of interest in the future. Furthermore, the late focus on R&D is visible from the chart again. The overwhelming bulk of patent and utility model applications was registered in the period between 2008 and 2010.
The chart below shows the different technology areas in which GWM filed patent and utility model applications. Most of the applications were registered in the transportation field, followed by machine tools and motors, engines, pumps and turbines. These three areas account for nearly 60 percent of all applications. Remarkable is the high percentage of utility models in all areas. Utility models need fewer requirements and therefore are easier to obtain.