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China’s Great Wall Motor to close European headquarters, cut 100 jobs

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China’s Great Wall Motor to close European headquarters, cut 100 jobs as it adjusts strategy

Chinese carmaker Great Wall Motor plans to close its European headquarters in Munich in August and lay off about 100 workers.

The company, one of the largest independent car manufacturers in China, is adjusting its European strategy as the electric vehicle (EV) market there becomes more challenging, it said in a statement on its website dated May 31. About 100 European staff members will be let go, a company representative said on Monday.

Shares in the carmaker’s Hong Kong-listed arm fell as much as 9.4 per cent on Tuesday – the biggest intraday drop since January – on news of the closure and weak May sales of 91,460 vehicles, a 9.5 per cent year-on-year decline.

Great Wall Motor and other Chinese manufacturers are facing threats of higher import tariffs in the EU, where preliminary results of an anti-subsidy investigation are expected as early as next week.

Higher tariffs will reduce the competitiveness of Chinese-made vehicles, which is likely to add to already-cooling demand for EVs in countries such as Germany and France, which are scaling back or restricting subsidies.

The company cited numerous uncertainties in the region as a reason for pulling back. German media first reported the company’s plans last week.

Great Wall Motor last year reportedly sold about 6,300 cars in Europe, accounting for about 2 per cent of its overall exports.

The carmaker’s base in China will assume responsibility for providing support to European distributors and continue to explore new markets, the company said.

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