And, while local Great Wall products have been Sydney-based distributed by importer Ateco, the Chinese giant is making a statement on its commitment to the Haval brand in Australia by opening its own offices in outer Melbourne.
The factory-backed brand’s first model to hit Australian roads will be the H2, a compact SUV that will be aimed at the likes of Mitsubishi’s ASX and the new Honda HR-V. Pricing is expected to fall in the same circa-$20,000 bracket.
The brand will initially skip the midsized SUV market in Australia, pairing the H2 with the big seven-seat H9 from launch.
The H8 will follow, entering as a more road-focused large SUV in the same vein as the Toyota Kluger, Ford Territory and Hyundai Santa Fe. The H8 will give away one key point to those rivals, however, in being a five-seater only.
A contender for the medium-SUV segment will arrive in early 2016, in the form of the curiously named H6 Coupe, its latest form revealed in Shanghai this week.
Boasting a tapered Range Rover Evoque-like roofline, the H6 Coupe’s styling is the work of a team led by former BMW designer Pierre Leclercq.
Leclercq, responsible for the look of models like the first X6 SUV and a number of M performance models, was installed as the head of design at Great Wall in 2013.
However, the new H6 is understood to be the first production model to showcase Leclercq’s influence.
The local range will be rounded out in 2016 with the H7, a more conventional SUV wagon that slots in between the H6 and the large H8.
In China, Haval has sold more than 162,000 SUVs in the first quarter of 2015, in a market that saw 474,100 SUV sales overall for the period.
In March alone, Haval sold nearly 32,000 units of the current H6 SUV, outselling foreign rivals like the Volkswagen Tiguan and Toyota RAV4.
Haval is expected to start small in Australia, building its dealer network to around 10 to 20 retail points in the years ahead. Details of that rollout are still to come, however.
Five-year warranties are expected, and the company expects top 5-Star ANCAP safety ratings for all models.
Watch for full details and pricing to come closer to Haval’s June launch in Australia.