Haval Motors South Africa (HMSA) seems to have tapped into South Africa’s love of sports-utility vehicles (SUVs), with the Chinese brand on the comeback trail following a change in ownership.
Great Wall Motors South Africa (GWM SA) was launched as an independent importer in 2007. GWM in China assumed 100% control of the local company in 2016, relaunching it as HMSA.
Haval is GWM’s premium SUV brand. GWM is China’s largest privately owned automotive manufacturer.
Last year’s launch of HMSA added a number of affordable Haval SUVs to the well-known range of GWM bakkies in South Africa.
GWM SA sales in the first six months of 2016 reached 703 units – according to aggregate numbers reported to the Department of Trade and Industry. HMSA sales in the last six months of 2017 reached 2 223 units.
“There were many aspects that played a part in the increase in sales [seen in 2017], the first one being the fact that HMSA took full control of GWM SA,” says HMSA national sales manager Tyrone Alberts.
“HMSA is now a wholly owned subsidiary of GWM China, and we are confident that Haval will become a major player in this segment in the South African market.
“HMSA is in South Africa to stay. Haval and GWM China are most certainly in it for the long haul. There has been a tremendous investment from Haval and GWM China into the South African market and we know that we will reap the rewards in the future.”
Alberts says Haval Motors has a strategic plan to build both the Haval and GWM brands by increasing brand awareness and customer satisfaction.
“Our products are remarkable and we offer our consumers a value for money proposition in our value-starved market, along with the customer service that consumers deserve.”
HMSA already has the Haval H1, H2, H6 and H6 C available on the local market, and will launch the Haval H9 in 2018.
This year will also see an upgrade to the GWM Steed 5 pick-up.
HMSA currently has 37 dealers, of which 23 sell both the Haval and GWM brands. The remainder sells only the GWM brand.
“Our objective for 2018 is to have 34 full Haval dealers and to continue with gradual growth in 2019,” says Alberts.
The perception around Chinese brands in South Africa is changing rapidly, he adds.
“Consumers are well educated and can now see that the quality and workmanship coming out of China is right up to standard with the best in the world.
We will separate ourselves from the rest [of the brands in South Africa] by offering safe, remarkable products with great customer service at an affordable price.”
HMSA in the “process of undertaking a feasibility study into a local assembly plant in South Africa”, says Alberts.
“Although nothing is set in stone as yet, I am confident there will be a positive outcome.”
Alberts says he can also confirm that HMSA will be expanding into Africa in the foreseeable future.
“We will be using South Africa as the hub for Haval and GWM – for both vehicle and parts distribution into other African countries.”