The Star Late Edition
China transfers its interesting dynamic to car manufacturers
ONCE you’ve managed to pass the intense security scrutiny when you land in China there’s a new world waiting to leave you aghast.
That’s especially true when it comes to cars, as we found out when we visited the Shanghai Motor Show as guests of GWM.
Think almost 27 million cars sold in 2022 and you get an idea of how big the industry is in this part of the world.
It’s a country with an interesting dynamic, with new coal-fired power stations going up at an incredible rate on the one hand and authorities pushing New Energy Vehicles with zeal on the other.
So much so that car registration plates are coloured according to emissions and top of the pile is the green one that allows you to drive every day and good old-fashioned ICE cars at the bottom which are only allowed to be driven two or three days a week.
Fortunately we’re familiar with GWM and their local offerings with the Haval, P-Series and workhorse Steed, and now added to the list is Ora, the GWM EV offering.
Confirmed for South Africa is the Ora 300, 400 and 400 GT.
The 300 is a funky little hatchback that could potentially be the affordable electric vehicle that South Africa has been waiting for.
Local spec has not been confirmed yet but it’s likely that they will all have the same drivetrains, with the GT showing off some sporty livery.
GWM threw the cat among the bakkie pigeons when they launched the P-Series (or Poer in China, which is now a sub-brand) with its competitive pricing and specification list.
That trend is likely to continue with the larger Shanhai confirmed for local consumption. Currently there is a 2.0-litre petrol hybrid in South Africa for homologation but there is also a strong rumour that a 2.4-litre turbo diesel mill is waiting in the wings.
There was talk at the auto show of updating the Steed, which has been around for a while but no specification has been made public yet.
Tank, another sub-brand in the group, is also set to make its debut locally with the 300 and 500 models.
Aimed directly at the traditional big guns in the 4x4 SUV market, GWM clearly sees space for another luxury vehicle in that segment.
Current specification has both fitted with a 2.0-litre petrol hybrid engine but at the GWM test track in Baoding we were driven around the high-speed oval in a 500 fitted with a twin turbo petrol V6.
Please GWM, we’re asking nicely. Also confirmed for South Africa is the Haval Dargo, an adventure allwheel-drive SUV.
We’ll be digging deeper into the offerings that GWM will be sending our way from the Shanghai Motor Show, but one thing’s for certain, though, and that’s that a lot of them will be new energy vehicles.