China's Haval Motors to bring new SUVs to SA

Shanghai, China - The 2017 Shanghai Auto Show is well and truly underway. Over the course of two days, journalists from around the world could get a glimpse of what will shape the Asian automotive industry.

Haval Motors, China’s number one SUV brand, made its intentions for the South African car market very clear and its models will arrive in SA later in 2017.

End of GWM

Many SA consumers and motorists will recall Great Wall Motors (or GWM as they were better known). GWM is a subsidiary of Haval Motors and entered the South African market under that name a few years ago.

Due to escalating import costs and its mother company wanting to explore other markets, it was decided that the marque will be re-branded Haval Motors, though GWM will continue to be on offer.

READ: Showtime in Shanghai as automakers race for China edge

The reason? A universal name for all the markets the automaker will be selling its products in.

In China, its home market, Haval Motors is the number one SUV manufacturer and in 2017 hopes to garner that title in other nations, including South Africa.

Haval Motors South Africa has announced that the two products it plans on bringing to market in 2017 - the H2 and H6 Coupe - will be "competitively priced". The badging on available models will be in either red or blue, with the latter the sportier derivative.

Image: Charlen Raymond

The initial models destined for SA:

Haval H2

Boasting a length of 4.3m and a height of 1.69m, the H2 is anything but compact. The SUV is powered by a 1.5-litre turbo engine that develops 110kW/210Nm, while power is sent to the front wheels via either a six-speed manual or a seven-speed ZF gearbox. Keen observers will note that ZF, the company that manufactures automatic gearboxes for the likes of BMW and Jaguar Land Rover, now also provides ‘boxes to Haval for both the H2 and H6 Coupe.

If experiences with aforementioned premium brand's transmissions are anything to go by, Haval has found itself a very good and reputable drivetrain partner in ZF.

Though the exact specification for the South African market needs to be finalised, consumers can expect to find - among a vast list of features - some, if not all, of the following in the H2:

  - Stop/Start system;
  - Automatic headlamps and wipers;
  - Sunroof;
  - Blind spot alert;
  - Steering wheel mounted controls;
  - Steering wheel mounted gearshift paddles;
  - Keyless entry/go;
  - Six-way electrically adjustable driver seat;
  - A car locating function; and
  - Dual-zone automatic air conditioning.

Launch date: May 2017

Image: Charlen Raymond

Haval H6 Coupe

One of the first things petrolheads will point out about the H6 Coupe is that it doesn’t exactly look like a coupe. The designers could have added a bit more slope to the roofline. Nevertheless, this is a relatively compact SUV; with a width and height of 1.7m and 1.8m  respectively. It's likely to go up against the likes of the Hyundai Tucson and Kia Sportage, but Haval is adamant that its model will stand toe-to-toe with any SUV in this category.

The H6 Coupe is driven by a 2.0-litre petrol engine that develops 145kW/315Nm. The same gearbox options as used in the H2 are on offer and this SUV, says Haval, will top out at 190km/h.

The H6 offers the same features as the H2, but adds:

  - Hill hold control (HHC);
  - Hill descent control (HDC);
  - Eight-way electrically adjustable driver seat;
  - Four-way electrically adjustable front passenger seat;
  - Heated seats at the front;
  - Side airbags;
  - Tyre pressure monitoring system;
  - Reverse camera;
  - Automatic headlight levelling system; and
  - A refrigerator; among a host of other features.

Though the South African line-up still needs to be confirmed, the “standard” H6 is available with two petrol engines: a naturally-aspirated 2.4-litre (120kW/210Nm) unit and the same 1.5-litre that is found in the H2. A 2.0-litre diesel option with 110kW/310Nm rounds out the engine lists.

The 2.4-litre sends its drive to the front wheels via a four-speed automatic transmission. The 1.5-litre and diesel engines are available with a six-speed manual gearbox in both 2WD and 4WD. The 1.5-litre also offers a 2WD six-speed automatic option.

The standard H6 is already available to the Chinese market, but it remains to be seen whether it will reach South African shores some time in future.

H6 Coupe launch date: Third quarter 2017

Image: Charlen Raymond

Haval HB-03

The big highlight for Haval Motors was the unveiling of its HB-03; a hybrid SUV with properly sporty looks. Information on this model is a scarce, but Haval says that it signifies the direction the company is headed in. It's perhaps one of the most exciting designs to come out of China and the SUV is squarely positioned as a lifestyle vehicle.

There is no doubt that this model will go into production, but whether it will reach South Africa is unlikely at this stage. 

Interestingly, if the HB-03 shows hints of looking like a BMW X6, then you won’t be too far off. The man responsible for designing the X6, Pierre Leclerq, is Haval Motors’ design director and the HB-03 is his creation.

Image: Charlen Raymond