China’s biggest domestic SUV maker, Haval, is having a much tougher time selling cars to Australians than it expected, but the still-ambitious company suggests its next wave of products will have a better go at it.
The company is developing a new modular architecture for domestic left-hand drive (LHD) purposes – as well as right-hand drive (RHD) for Australia, India and South Africa – to underpin its next generation model line-up.
As such, it’s claiming 2020 will see the reveal of the new global H2 urban crossover, H6 mid-size SUV, H7 luxury SUV and H9 flagship. These cars will be global offerings, breaking away from the company’s current approach of offering different models for the Chinese and global markets.
Crucially, it’s also looking at launching in North America, following GAC’s lead, with its high-end LHD-only WEY brand. It also operates R&D there.
Haval is also spending billions on hybrid, PHEV and electric cars in the mid-term, and is expecting about 30 per cent of its sales in Australia to be alternative-fuel vehicles by just 2022. That’d be quite an achievement, though this is a company rather prone to overstatement.
Complementing this, the company will launch yet another brand, called Ora, which will sell battery electric cars only.
This is becoming essential in China, which is spending hundreds of billions on building EV infrastructure and supporting the rollout of the alternative-fuel car industry, with an eye to global leadership.
From 2019 every brand in China with more than 300k sales will be subject to EV quotas.
Scale is not a problem for the company. It sold more than a million cars again last year (1,070,161, or so it claims), and says it has been the #1 SUV brand in China for 15 years. Exports also grew 125 per cent.
Haval Australia just launched its upgraded H9, and later this year will roll out a new infotainment system with phone mirroring through its range. It expects to double sales to 1500 units this year - small volumes, but it’d be a good start.
It’s also asked to get the China-market H2 from 2019 to replace the ageing one sold here, and has decided to postpone launching the H7 that it promised to bring this year, because the company has now decided to axe it and replace it with a new car in 2020 - which we will get then, instead.
Haval also has grand plans for the Great Wall brand globally, with a claimed Ford Ranger rival in the works.