Ignited wheels

Ignited wheels

Applause for Haval

Excellence is seldom instant and immediate. Especially in the auto world. But there are a couple of exceptions, including Haval – the luxury sub-brand of GWM.

Now anyone old enough might remember that when Japanese cars first started going global five or so decades ago, they were hardly met with universal acclaim.

In fact, they were shorthand for mediocrity. A trawl through a vintage collection of UK “Car” magazines shows that back in 1974 a selection of models from well-known Japanese car makers were variously summed up as “Ho-hum,” “Ugh,” and “Nope.”

Today, of course, Nipponese cars have carved out an excellent reputation. But it took them quite a while to get there. Decades, in fact.

On a similar note, when Korean cars first appeared in South Africa about two decades ago, it took several years before they inched towards becoming world-class. But when this unknown (at least locally) new brand called Haval launched in the market a little over a year ago, its products were already, well, superb.

And from the word “go” the Haval H2 that was unveiled at Kyalami Race Track drew applause from both motoring media and the buying public.

The vehicle received good reviews from almost every quarter with some testers sailing they’d be happy recommending the H2 to friends and family. It is clear that, with Haval, GWM is improving the quality of its vehicles at an astounding rate…faster even than some other Asian brands managed to do a decade or two ago.

“In years gone by, while the Japanese and Koreans were advancing at a rapid pace, the Chinese car makers were using tracing paper, quite frankly,” explains Tyrone Alberts, Haval’s seasoned National Sales Manager. “But not Haval. Acutely aware of this `tracing paper’ phenomenon, they headhunted top international people in every sphere, and we mean the best of the best,” says Alberts.

“Design (interior and exterior), gearboxes, engines, in-car technology, you name it, while the amount of money and skills being poured into this brand is simply phenomenal.” The company explains that Pierre Leclercq, previously design chief for BMW’s M division, was responsible for the design of current Havals, while Ramon Ginah, previously Alfa Romeo’s chief interior designer, is also on board. Its Research and Development (R&D) facility in the city of Baoding, meanwhile, is a veritable mini-city itself, with around 10 000 employees, and an investment cost of some five billion Chinese Yuan (around R10-billion), the company says

 “Yet Haval’s price point remains incredibly competitive.,” says Alberts.
“We want to show that we are here to build the brand and establish Haval as one of the leading SUV nameplates in SA in terms of both volume – and quality,” Alberts says.

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