Great Wall Motor sets great expectations

By Dylan Afuang

AT AUTO CHINA (or Beijing Auto Show) 2024, Chinese auto group Great Wall Motor (GWM) reiterated the manufacturing prowess of its facilities in Baoding and Xushui, China. It revealed “new-energy” vehicles from its brand umbrella, along with the company’s goals for the future.

These feats were announced by GWM CEO Mu Feng to the visitors of the major auto show, which was staged in Beijing from late April to early May. Car makers from around the world, but especially Chinese ones, bannered their advancements in mobility at Auto China.

“China’s complex topography provides us with a good development and test environment, and we can experience the complex global car scene and to (gain insight in) the needs of users,” Mr. Mu stated in Chinese, whose message was accompanied by English translations flashed on screen at GWM’s booth.

At the 18th Auto China, the GWM unveiled the 700 Hi-4T SUV from Tank; 03, 03 GT, and 07 electric vehicles from Ora; and the H9 and H6 crossovers from Haval. GWM also revealed its venture into motorcycle manufacturing through its new subsidiary, Souo Motorcycles.

Local GWM distributor Luxuriant Auto Group, Inc. (LAGI) will bring in limited examples of the aforementioned Tank SUV, Ora EVs, and H9 this year, LAGI Product Manager Fritz De Ocampo told the Philippine contingent on the sidelines of the show. Last month, the distributor brought local motoring media to China for a tour of GWM’s manufacturing bases and the motor show.

“In 2023, GWM entered the harvest period of high-quality development, and we achieved an annual sales of more than 300,000 vehicles in overseas markets,” the company CEO continued. While “in the first quarter of 2024, GWM sold 92,800 vehicles overseas and 35,800 vehicles in March (alone), both of which maintained a high growth trend.”

Following the executive’s announcement, GWM’s goal to achieve a million units sold in overseas markets annually by 2030 was presented on screen.

Through Souo, the firm plans to make a luxury touring motorbike powered by an eight-cylinder engine, and as of presstime, the brand’s first model could have made its debut in the Chinese market.

Revealed to the Chinese market early this year, the Tank 700 Hi-4T is a full-size SUV powered by a three-liter turbo V6 engine accompanied by a plug-in hybrid system, and is supported by an air suspension system. It boasts a 950-mm water-wading capability.

Known here as the Ora 03 and abroad as the Good Cat, the electric hatchback features a bug-eyed appearance, a brightly colored cabin, and a 400-km range. Its sportier counterpart is the aforementioned 03 GT, which is distinguished by more aggressive exterior details.

Positioned as Ora’s premium model is the 07 fastback. It sports the brand’s signature styling with circular headlamps and a well-appointed interior. Similar to the 03 GT, limited examples of the 07 are allocated for our market.

The Haval H9’s boxy styling wraps a three-row, seven-seat cabin, and engine choices of a two-liter turbo with 221hp, and a 2.4-liter turbodiesel with 185hp. Supporting these is a 4WD system and three differential locks.

Our market’s Haval H6 crossover packs a hybrid powertrain, while the conventionally powered model, available in China, received a new infotainment system inside and styling changes outside. These changes could find their way to the hybrid H6.

“GWM makes Chinese cars a new business card in the world,” Mr. Mu concluded, “and with (entry into) multiple categories, it makes us firmly believe in the realization of (the 2030 goal).”