Linders Motor Group has been appointed Ireland's first official franchisee for Great Wall Motors (GWM) Ora in Ireland.
The arrangement will see Linders' showroom on the Naas Road in Dublin 7 be the first to host GMW's Ora Funky Cat electric hatchback, and the Chinese firm is currently in the process of establishing a dealer network in Ireland ahead of the Funky Cat's official launch here.
Car-making giant Great Wall is no stranger to Ireland, the firm previously having a presence here for many years selling competitively-priced pickups until it ran afoul of European emissions rules. Since then, the company has decided to take another run at the market in western Europe with the cutesy Funky Cat from the firm's Ora brand leading the onslaught.
Plenty of rivals
The Funky Cat occupies a similar segment of the market to the Volkswagen ID.3, Nissan Leaf and MG4, but with a high level of spec and starting price of €31,995 it leans more towards the premium end of that sector.
The model is available in Ireland in two grades - the 300 Pro with a 310km range from its 48kWh battery and the 400 Pro+ with a range of 420km and 63kWh power source. All versions feature plenty of hi-tech kit as standard including facial recognition, voice recognition, 360-degree cameras and adaptive cruise control.
"We are very excited to welcome Linders Motor Group into the Ora family in Ireland," said Pat Ryan, managing director of GWM Ora in Ireland.
"As a new brand launching in the Irish market it is imperative that we partner with the right businesses. Linders Motor Group has a reputation for expert knowledge in the automotive industry and I am confident they are best placed to help us deliver a premium EV ownership experience to Irish customers".
The managing director of the Linders Group, Paul Linders, said the business was "thrilled" to showcase such a "transformative" car for the electric vehicle segment.
What else is in the pipeline?
The Ora Funky Cat isn't the only car we're likely to see from the brand in the coming years. At the Paris motor show in 2022 the firm displayed the "near production ready" Ora Next Cat concept, a sort of elongated Funky Cat with shades of Porsche Panamera in its styling.
Powered by an 83kWh battery, the concept featured all-wheel drive, 408hp, 680Nm of torque, and a 0-100km/h time of 4.3 seconds, all underscoring how Ora has rivals such as the Tesla Model 3 firmly in its sights.
If the Next Cat arrives on Irish shores, it's likely to do so in 2024 at the earliest along with, it has been rumoured, an SUV from the firm.