Auto Expo 2020: Will Great Wall Motors drive its SUVs and EV into India?

Founded in 1984, China’s top SUV maker Great Wall Motors has 10 R&D centres in seven countries, including China, India, the US, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and Austria. But will it hit Indian roads soon?
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The Chinese onslaught at the ongoing Auto Expo 2020 is evident with a majority of the floor space being taken by manufacturers from the country. Great Wall Motors, China’s largest selling SUV maker, showcased the Haval Concept H for the first time in the world along with its Vision 2025.

The company also showcased the F5, F7, F7X, and H9, and the R1 electric car, which it retails in China under the Ora brand name.

Great Wall has not, however, confirmed whether any of these vehicles will be launched in India.

It was 2013 when the rumours of Great Wall entering the Indian market first began. It opened its first R&D centre in Bengaluru in 2016.

At Auto Expo 2020, the company announced that it would be investing $1 billion in a phased manner. This includes investment for setting up the manufacturing plant, vehicle R&D, batteries, electric drives, products, and component manufacturing.

In January 2020, the company also confirmed that it would be acquiring General Motors’ Talegaon-based manufacturing facility.

Here are the five most striking products showcased at the Great Wall Motors stall at Delhi Auto Expo 2020.

Haval Concept H

The plug-in hybrid Haval Concept H previews a possible mid-size SUV by the Chinese manufacturer. Borrowing design elements from its existing product portfolio, the concept model gets a large chrome-lined grille, LED headlights, T-shaped taillamps, and large 19-inch alloy wheels.

Designed for a young audience, the Concept H bears an all-digital instrumentation cluster, touchscreen infotainment system, a door-mounted touchpad, and a touchpad for a gear selector.

A second screen for the front passenger is present to help with navigation and other features. The Concept H also gets features like a large panoramic sunroof. Safety features include forward collision alert system and autonomous emergency braking.

The company has not confirmed the Concept H for India or even the Chinese market. However, we would not be surprised that the carmaker brings a product inspired by the Concept H when it begins sales here.



Haval Concept 2025

The Concept 2025 previews Haval’s vision for a smart, capable, intelligent vehicle. Unlike many players, Haval has found a new acronym for their product, NGV, which stands for next generation vehicle. It may look like any ordinary SUV concept, but the Concept 2025 boasts of 5G in-car infotainment and services.

It is loaded with features like automated parking and autonomous driving modes, making it an intelligent vehicle that is able to think, communicate, and take care of the driving for you. It also has facial and biometric recognition, and an augmented reality based heads-up display. Even the rear view mirrors have been replaced with cameras, which transmit data on to the dashboard, similar to the one seen in the Audi e-Tron.

The front of the Haval Concept 2025 bears a standard SUV-ish look with high-placed LED headlamps, big grille, and large fog lamps. The side profile sports aggressive-looking wheel arches, while the rear reminds us of the previous generation Range Rover Evoque.

We do not expect the Haval Concept 2025 to launch any time soon.



Haval F5

One of the most plausible products showcased at Auto Expo 2020 for the Indian market is the Haval F5. With a sportier design philosophy adopted for the F series of vehicles unlike the H series, the Haval F5 was introduced at the 2018 Beijing Motor Show. It bears a sloping roofline, lending the SUV a coupe-like look.

With a size similar to the Jeep Compass, the F5 is powered by a 1.5-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 168 PS of power and 285 Nm of torque. The gearbox option includes a seven-speed gearbox or a six-speed manual.

Features include automatic LED headlights with automatic wiper, 19-inch alloy wheels, panoramic sunroof, red interior, ambient lighting, electric parking brake, and start-stop system.

It also gets a 12.3-inch fully digital instrument cluster, eight-way electric driver seat, four-way electric front passenger seat, nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system with GPS navigation, remote engine start/stop, and an eight-speaker sound system.



Haval F7

This AI-enabled SUV is one of China’s largest selling products, with 1.40 lakh units within a year of its launch. This five-seater SUV, if launched in India, will be a direct rival for the likes of MG Hector, Tata Harrier, and Hyundai Tucson.

The SUV is bigger than its competitors and it also offers a significantly larger boot space. The hexagonal grille is housed between quad-LED headlamp and fog lamps. The engine is a 1.5-litre petrol producing 150 PS of power and 280 Nm of torque.

Also on offer is a 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 190 PS of power and 340 Nm of torque. The gearbox is only a seven-speed dual clutch automatic. If introduced in India, we would not the surprised to see a manual gearbox as an option.

Features include six airbags, front collision alert system, a 360-degree parking camera, tyre pressure monitoring system, and adaptive cruise control.



R1

This long-range electric vehicle aims to be the perfect fit for the masses. Often touted as the most affordable EV in the world, the R1 has a claimed range of over 300 km. The car is retailed in China under the Ora brand name, which denotes “open, reliable, and alternative”.

The R1 is powered by a 33 kW electric motor, with a 33kWh lithium-ion battery pack. It has a top speed of 164 kmph and takes 40 minutes to charge up to 80 percent. The small, petite hatchback is priced in China at CNY 59,800 (Rs 6.5 lakh).

Great Wall Motors has not officially confirmed the R1 for the Indian market. However, if the company gets its localisation levels on target, it can have a winner. Especially if it’s brought in via the CKD (completely knocked down) route with a sticker price of around Rs 10 lakh.

(Edited by Teja Lele Desai)


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