Chinese company Haval quickly rose to prominence in South Africa. We look at sales figures to determine how much GWM’s crossover sub-brand has grown in its half-decade of existence in the country. And, we are looking forward to the brilliant record of Haval H1 2023.
To be honest: the car brands of the world’s most populous country simply do not resonate with car buyers in South Africa. Geely comes and goes, Faw’s passenger car business fails (although its truck business fails), Foton fails to break into the bakkie market, and the Landwind brand is less prominent. more from JMC seems to be a thing of the past.
Baic continues (but when was the last time you spotted a car on the road?) and Jac Motors is steadfast in the commercial space, while Chery’s second stab at the local market at least looks promising date than his unlucky first. In short, however, the overall performance of Chinese brands in South Africa is downright lousy.
However, Haval’s experience in South Africa was completely different. Instead of struggling to justify its presence in the local market, it quickly became the most successful Chinese brand in South Africa – and profitable too. Plus, in less than five years, it has positioned itself as a serious player in the broader passenger vehicle space, giving some mainstream brands a brand or three all night long. .
Rewind a few years to the days before the festival
While Haval was launched locally in mid-2017, its parent company operated in South Africa for another decade. Great Wall Motor (GWM) began marketing locally through a distributor in early 2007, launching in the light commercial vehicle segment with single and double cabs, before launching passenger models. such as the C20R sedan, C50 sedan and M4 crossover. next years.
Of course, these early passenger car models were quite crude and were not well received by domestic buyers, GWM continues to be seen by many as a bakkie brand (as it is today). However, perceptions began to change when Haval – founded globally as GWM’s specialist crossover division in 2013 – launched locally with the H2 in 2017. The H6 C continues followed, before the flagship H9 landed in 2018.
Not long before the arrival of these models, Haval Motors South Africa was established as a 100% subsidiary of the Chinese group, replacing GWM South Africa (which, on the other hand, acted as the distributor local) and gives the company useful additional agility.
Thereafter, Haval quietly increased its market share in South Africa, with the aforementioned M4 eventually becoming the thoroughly updated H1 and H2. Sales were steadily increasing (as well as a nationwide dealer network), but the automaker was still considered a marginal player at the time.
A push and a smart strategy in South Africa
All that changed with the arrival of the H2 that replaced the Jolion in Q2 2021. The latest generation H6 followed a few months later, landing on its own just six months after the P-series GWM landed in the area. previously predicted. . Suddenly GWM in general and Haval in particular are heavily pushed into the SA automotive limelight.
One question worth asking is whether cars like the Jolion and later H6 would have had the same effect in South Africa if they wore the GWM badge. The answer is probably not. Haval’s smart brand positioning and significantly improved digital customer-facing experience (their website was recently completely revamped and its social media continues to grow) with impressive speed) seems to have resonated with countless South Africans.
Of course, the main draw for actual buyers – as opposed to crowds of online reviewers – is the value proposition offered by Haval’s latest products, which tend to boast a high level of intelligence. high-end specs, including amenities normally reserved for high-end vehicles, as well as an eye-catching exterior design. Perceived build quality levels are also improving at a rapid pace (although there is obviously some work to be done in the fuel economy department), while Haval products significantly reduce their more traditional rivals on the price point.