Haval Motors Australia chief marketing officer Tim Smith speaks highly of the benefits of local suspension tuning after previously working with Kia Australia, which develops unique local suspension set-ups for every new model it brings to our market. Kia sister brand Hyundai runs a similar program and has achieved good results with some of its vehicles in recent times.
“We’re a fair way off from actually getting to talking to the factory about it but that process is no different to what Kia or anyone else would do,” Smith said.
“We’d have to get a fairly senior local suspension engineer to be able to assist us in being able to tailor a solution to suit Australian conditions. We’ve identified some candidates that would be able to assist us in that.”
Smith admitted time was running out to get a local suspension tuning program up and running before the first cars hit dealerships in June, but suggested it would be a priority for the back half of 2015.
He said that process could be accelerated if any serious issues presented themselves in the lead-up to Haval’s local launch, though is confident from experience with the cars that the standard factory suspension tune will perform well in Australia.
“If there’s a significant issue or anything with the vehicle – which I highly doubt – we would look to move that process up earlier, but based on all the test drives that we’ve done and the local test drive, the current car set-ups particularly suit Australian conditions.”
Launching in June will be the Nissan Qashqai-sized H2 crossover, and the rugged, seven-seat Toyota Prado rival dubbed H9. They will be joined in July by the Ford Territory-rivalling H8, and followed in 2016 by the mid-sized H6 Coupe that’s gunning for the Mazda CX-5, and the slightly larger H7.
Haval has bold ambitions for the Australian market, claiming it’s confident that its vehicles will score five-star ANCAP safety ratings (a feat no Chinese brand has achieved in the past), and setting the long-term goal of selling more SUVs than any other brand across the country.