Great Wall Motors’ (GWM) Ora electric vehicle (EV) brand has appointed Lookers as its first car retail franchisee in England.
The appointment of the AM100 PLC to operate showrooms in Wolverhampton and Braintree follows an announcement earlier this month that Peter Vardy would become the brand’s first UK’s appointment.
Growth of the emerging Chinese car brand’s network of franchise partners comes ahead of the the opening of order books for its Ora Funky Cat EV hatchback next month, priced from £31,995.
Toby Marshall, GWM Ora UK’s sales and marketing director, said: “As a new brand launching into the UK market, it is essential that we partner with the right businesses.
“Lookers Group has a reputation for expert knowledge within the industry and I am confident they are best placed to help us deliver a premium EV ownership experience to UK customers.”
Lookers will add to an existing portfolio containing 33 OEM brands at 150 dealerships with the addition of Ora.
Chief executive Mark Raban, the AM Awards 2022’s Business Leader of the Year, said: “As the UK’s leading future-focused motor retail group, with a proud heritage stretching back over 100 years, Lookers is committed to being UK consumers’ number one choice for all-electric driving.”
Raban said he was “proud to be welcoming the new Ora Funky Cat First Edition to not one, but two, prominent Lookers sites in our nationwide network”, adding that the car brings a fresh new look to the EV market”.
He added: “We are thrilled be among the first in the UK to showcase its arrival.”
Lookers chief operating officer Duncan McPhee described the Funky Cat as “a real gamechanger for the UK’s EV marketplace”. He added: “With a strong record of partnership success with established and emerging EV brands, the arrival of the Ora Funky Cat is a welcome and compelling addition to our growing portfolio.”
GWM Ora products will be imported into the UK market by Subaru and Isuzu importer IM Group.
It is one of a number of Chinese EV brands set to enter the UK market in the coming months.
AM reported today (October 10) that battery swapping electric vehicle (EV) brand NIO has revealed its European launch plans ahead of an anticipated UK arrival in 2023, with BYD also waiting in the wings.
Chinese OEM Geely already has a strong foothold in the European automotive market, through its brands Lotus Cars, the London Electric Vehicle Company (LEVC) and Polestar and recently acquired a stake in Aston Martin.
MG Motor UK, meanwhile, is the UK’s fastest-growing brand.