Five stars. That’s what the Chinese vehicle buying public have given Haval – which has been the best-selling SUV in China for 14 consecutive years, with over one million units finding new homes last year.
Brian Joss – The H2 subcompact SUV has been praised for its style, robustness and equipment levels, with top-range models featuring six-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat, man-made leather upholstery and a high-resolution touch-screen infotainment system.
“The H2 scored in five stars in CNCAP crash testing. Important this, given that certain other, lesser Chinese brands have in the past hardly covered themselves in glory when it comes to crashworthiness, to be frank.
But then Haval is hardly just ‘another’ Chinese brand,” said Tyrone Alberts, national sales manager, Haval South Africa.
“The South African motoring public is going to become familiar with the name, especially given that GWM (Great Wall Motors) is now fully controlled by its Chinese parent company, with the local subsidiary trading as Haval Motors South Africa,” Alberts said.
Haval vehicles represent a prestigious sub-brand of GWM – which in turn has sold over 55 000 vehicles since it debuted on the South African market a decade ago.
GWM products will still be available includingthe newly relaunched H5 and H6, and refreshed Steed bakkie line ups.
The Haval H2 enters a hugely competitive segment, and promises much, as does its smaller sibiling, the H1.
The H2 offers 105kW and 202Nm of torque to the front wheels thanks to a 1.5-litre turbopetrol motor, while gearchanges are taken care of via a six-speed manual or automatic transmission.
But above all it’s Haval’s value factor that’s going to appeal in these economically interesting times, Alberts said.
“Due to the very volatile interest rates, and South Africa being downgraded to `Junk Status,’ the public are currently value-starved.
“Haval now provides a rational choice with a quality SUV that is not unknown in the automotive industry.
“Haval currently has 75 000 employees worldwide, has the capacity to produce more than one million vehicles annually, and has been the best-selling SUV brand in China for 14 consecutive years.
“Haval China is fully dedicated to supporting the South African market and is expecting to make serious in-roads into the local SUV market, selling quality vehicles at extremely reasonable prices. Parts will not be a concern, as we currently have a first pick rate of 91%.”
Prices range from R244 900 for the H2 1.5T City to R309 900 for the H2 1.5T Luxury 6A/T .
* Watch out for a review soon.