The Chinese brand is getting ready to shake off its budget image with a fresh long-term marketing plan, designed to address some of the baggage associated with cars from the Middle Kingdom.
Haval is moving away from price-led marketing, as it pushes to reposition itself in the crowded Australian market.
Don't expect to see slogans like "luxury you don't have to sell the house for" going forward. Rather than parroting drive-away prices, the brand is keen to shine a light on the global engineering talent behind its products.
Unfortunately, a fresh range of products to back up the revised advertising approach won't be arriving until 2021.
Speaking with media and dealers at Haval HQ, Damian Royce, executive creative director at the agency behind the campaign, explained the new approach is about giving "people a reason to buy into the brand" and changing how people perceive its quality.
"We know that sometimes when you market a vehicle or a product around price... you might attract people from the outset, but there's also going to be people in the market who are going to look at that brand and say 'well, if it's cheap price then is it cheap quality?'"
"That is definitely something that we need to turn around."
Stage one of the brand's five-year plan involves rebuilding its fundamentals, as it seeks to highlight the global knowhow behind its cars. The phrase "great international minds" won't appear in the official marketing materials, but Royce used it to encapsulate the message Haval will try to project.
Expect to see bigger sponsorships and partnerships cropping up around 2020, before a wave of fresh product finally arrives in 2021.
The overall goal is to "set the brand up as a quality brand in Australia". According to Royce, the new approach was preceded by consultation with owners, new SUV buyers, and people who wouldn't know what a Haval is.
Having launched in 2015, Haval hasn't made huge inroads Down Under, despite being the largest SUV brand in China. It sold just 633 cars last year, although things are looking more positive this year. Sales are up 69% year-to-date in 2019.
Its current H2, H6 and H9 line-up will be bolstered by at least one new model. The F7 we drove in Baoding looks like the strongest candidate, although a fresh H6 – two generations on from the car currently offered in Australia, one on from the current Chinese model – is also on the cards.