Haval – the largest seller of SUVs in China and a self-claimed “premium SUV manufacturer” – will launch its first three models (the compact H2, large H8 and seven-seat H9) in Australia by July and another two (the mid-sized H6 Coupe and slightly larger H7) during 2016.
Haval Motors Australia chief marketing officer Tim Smith says it is his expectation that all five will earn local independent crash-tester ANCAP’s maximum safety rating when scored against its criteria.
“As a brand we will always endeavour to bring in five-star safety,” Smith said.
“We’re very confident and have been given every indication that there should be no problem achieving five-star safety.”
At this stage, only the Haval H6 – a relative of the newer H6 Coupe – has been tested by ANCAP’s Chinese affiliate C-NCAP and was awarded five stars (picture below and video above).
Haval claims it understands that differences exist between the standards and criteria of NCAP programs around the world but is confident that the models headed our way have been engineered to meet global five-star safety levels.
“Everyone’s told me, ‘don’t worry about safety, it’s five-star all the way’,” Smith said. “All my discussions are that our cars will be five-star, the highest ANCAP rating possible.”
No Chinese vehicle has been awarded a five-star ANCAP safety rating to date, meaning Haval will well and truly be breaking new ground if it achieves its goal.
Sister brand Great Wall’s X-Series SUV is the best performer so far, earning a four-star rating in 2010. Australia’s other Chinese SUV, the Chery J11, managed just two stars in 2011.
Five-star ratings would put Haval’s cars ahead of many established – including some premium – car makers. Recent four-star ANCAP results have included the Mini Cooper, BMW 2 Series Active Tourer, Kia Carnival and Suzuki Celerio.
Smith says the local team has rejected some cars – including the sub-$20,000, Mazda CX-3-rivalling Haval H1 – because it is not satisfied they could achieve top safety ratings.
Smith also says that if any of the vehicles it brings here fail to earn five stars from ANCAP, the local division will work with Haval head office in China to see what can be done to fix the issue.
“[If a Haval vehicle doesn’t get five stars] we’d need to look seriously at whether it’s capable or not.
“[If that happens] I’ll have to come to you guys and say, ‘we’ve got some problems, we’re trying to fix them’.”
According to ANCAP’s criteria, new vehicles introduced to Australia during 2015 will be required to score at least 32.5 points out of the total 37 available, earn an ‘acceptable’ rating for pedestrian protection and a ‘good’ whiplash rating in order to be eligible for a five-star score.
They must also come equipped with a number of mandatory safety assist technologies (SATs) including electronic stability control, rear-protecting side (or curtain) airbags, three-point seatbelts in all seating positions and front and rear seatbelt reminders, as well as at least five additional SATs such as auto headlights, daytime running lights, emergency stop signal, reverse-view camera, hill-start assist and blind-spot monitoring, among many others.
Haval Motors Australia has not announced final specifications for its vehicles at this stage, though will naturally be required to fit many of the above in its pursuit of five-star safety ratings.