Haval prides itself on being China’s number-one selling premium SUV brand, but in Australia the company has barely been in operation for one year, meaning there’s much groundwork to be done to build the profile of the brand with local new car shoppers.
With product offerings in the small SUV and large SUV categories, the brand has plenty of scope to expand, with the first new offering to bridge that gap, the H6, arriving in dealerships next month (watch for our review coming soon).
Next year the brand will really kick its revitalisation program into gear, with key company staff announcing massive strategic changes designed to make the brand more appealing to Australian consumers.
The biggest change for 2017 concerns the possible introduction of diesel engines to the range, a bold about-face for the brand, which declared as recently as June that diesel would not form a part of its future model line-up.
Citing pressure from key international markets, diesel engines could be rolled out in the large H8 and H9 models as early next year, with both expected to deploy a variant of the 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine already available in the Great Wall Steed ute in Australia.
Before that happens a minor refresh will see small changes made to exterior styling of both the H8 and H9, with a new ZF eight-speed automatic transmission, TFT instrument cluster display, and additional advanced safety features also promised.
Another new model will also join the range, positioned between the RAV4 rivalling H6 and the larger H8, the H7 will offer seating for seven, and launch with a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine, with the potential to add a hybrid version at a later date.
The H7 will also introduce features including autonomous braking, and a surround-view camera system to the Haval range in Australia.
With launch still some time away, pricing for the H7 is yet to be confirmed, however with the seven-seat H9 starting from $46,490 (before special offers), and the larger, but five-seat only, H8 available from as little as $41,990 a price point starting from the mid $30,000 range seems most likely.
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