China’s Haval coming to taste SA’s gravel
GREAT Wall Motors (GWM) celebrates its 10th year on the local market by, rather confusingly, changing its name to Haval — the group’s premium sub-brand.
This is the brand under which GWM has been racing in the Dakar and local management reassured the owners of over 55 000 GWM vehicles that had been sold through 40-plus dealerships in SA that they can look forward “to an ongoing raft of bestselling, continually updated GWM products”.
Charles Zhao, MD of Haval Motors SA, said the South African market plays an important part in the company’s international expansion strategy.
“Going forward we will continue to distribute Haval and GWM vehicles, offer parts and service support as well as administer warranties through the already established dealer network.”
New models include facelifts to the Steed bakkie line-ups, as well as the popular H5 and H6 SUVs. But the big news is that premium Haval products are set to be rolled out — starting with the Haval H2 at the end of this month.
As the premium sub-brand of GWM, Haval needs to do a lot better for GMW than what, for example, Nissan’s premium sub-brand, Infinity, is doing in SA.
Meanwhile, GWM advises Haval is pronounced to rhyme with “gravel” in China, where it’s a massive brand, having achieved sales of over one million units last year, making Haval the best-selling SUV brand in China.
Indeed, the H2 seems set to shake up the unquenchable SA market for sub-compact crossover, with its mixture of excellent driving dynamics, slick styling, high safety levels, and superb quality inside and out.
Powering the H2 is a proven 1.5-litre turbopetrol motor making 105 kW and 202 Nm.
Drive is to the front wheels via a sixspeed manual or automatic gearbox, and equipment levels are stellar, with everything from durable, man-made “leather” upholstery to a high-resolution touchscreen infotainment system. And reassuringly, this vehicle boasts a five-star C-NCAP rating.
Haval SA said the price will be the biggest surprise for SA, battered by a weak rand. They said the H2 promises to undercut the competition in this hugely popular segment, offering a standard, five-year or 100 000 km warranty and five years’ road assistance.
The Haval H2 is coming to SA to compete in the compact crossover segment.