Chinese SUV brand preparing to launch new retro-themed model, but we shouldn't expect it here – or any truly new Havals for a while.
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A new-generation Haval H5 is on the horizon, replacing the anonymous styling of its predecessor – once sold here as the Great Wall X200/X240 – with a new retro-inspired look.

However, where most brands go deep into their history for inspiration, the 2021 Haval H5 appears to have pulled up in the 1990s to settle in a dull void between retro cool details and sharp modern edges.

Thoughts of FJ LandCruiser, Land Rover, Jeep, Jimny and Honda Element are evoked by the front-end design, while the body proper suggests hints of early RAV4, a shortened XU40 Kluger and perhaps even Vitara.

Design is as much a matter of derivation as it is inspiration and innovation, of course, and as the H5 is unlikely to appear in any key Western markets, its look may also be a moot point.

Reports out of China suggest the H5 will be offered there with 1.5-litre turbo petrol and plug-in hybrid variants, along with a larger 2.0-litre turbo petrol option.

We should see more of the new H5 later this year, with a market debut set for the third quarter of 2020.

As for Haval in Australia, the brand has shown relative success in the past year, its pre-coronavirus 2019 performance seeing 169.5 per cent growth – although that amounted to just 1706 sales for the year.

A full 918 of those were sales went to the updated H2, while the H6 claimed 475 sales and the big H9 took 312.

The brand could soon be treading water, though, with little more than incremental updates to existing models likely to appear in the foreseeable future.

Speaking with CarAdvice today, Haval Australia communications boss Edward Mason-Jeffries said the company's local arm is focused primarily on the big new Great Wall ute, due here in the coming months.

Mason-Jeffries acknowledged that a number of stylish Haval models have been revealed for the Chinese market in recent years, to be built in left-hand-drive only, but assured that the company will properly revitalise its Australian line-up.

"And that's not just a five-year plan," he added, referring to new models due in the next couple of years – though it's sure to feel like a lifetime for the small team at the brand's local office.