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by Tim Beissmann

Ambitious Chinese SUV manufacturer Haval has hit a snag in its launch plans, forcing it to push back its introduction to the Australian market.

In April, Haval announced plans to launch locally this month with two models: the sub-compact H2 and the full-size H9. The large H8 was set to join them in July, while the mid-sized H6 Coupe and the slightly larger H7 were scheduled for 2016.

The company, which is the top-selling SUV maker in China and a division of Great Wall Motors, was aiming to have between 10 and 20 dealers operating across the country by the end of this year, and planned to expand its network in 2016 and beyond.

But CarAdvice now understands that Haval is unlikely to launch in Australia until closer to the end of 2015, and potentially later if there are any additional hold-ups in the establishment of the local operations over the coming weeks and months.

Haval’s local website has been inactive since April, with no details about the H2 and H9 models, and only one pin on its national network map that represents the local division’s headquarters in Melbourne. The ‘Find a dealer’ page says the sales network is “currently under construction”.

Official government documents reveal both the H8 and H9 have received local certification and comply with Australian Design Rules, meaning that they have jumped the hoops required to be sold in Australia.

There’s no similar approval document in the system for the H2, however, meaning it’s still waiting for the green light from local authorities.

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Haval’s Chinese parent company has big hopes for the Australian division. At April’s Shanghai motor show, Great Wall Motors global general manager Wang Fengying told media the company has a long-term goal of selling more SUVs than any other brand in the country.

“Haval is the number one SUV in China now and we have that target [in Australia],” Wang said.

“We have the aim, and we have the confidence that in the future … it can grow up to be the number one.”

The company announced a number of other commitments for Australia in April, targeting five-star ANCAP safety ratings for every model it brings to our market, planning to offer a five-year warranty and capped-price servicing as part of its aftersales program, and the development of a local suspension tuning program to fine-tune its models to suit local driving conditions and preferences.

CarAdvice will keep you updated with news on Haval as it comes to hand.




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