WHO IS GWM?
Great Wall Motors (GWM), which was founded in 1984, is the largest SUV manufacturer in China. The GWM brand is built on the philosophy of Technovation, Sustainability & Smart Mobility. It has more than 70 holding subsidiaries, along with a workforce of nearly 70,000 employees. Over the decades, GWM has successfully built world class R&D centres in China, Japan, the United States, Germany, India, Austria and South Korea, while the company has been continuously accelerating its global expansion, brand awareness and international reputation at a rapid pace. The company is known for its reputed brands, like Haval, Great Wall EV and Great Wall Pickup. At the moment, GWM has sales networks in more than 60 countries and regions, with the support of five regional marketing centres in Russia, Australia, South Africa, South America, and the Middle East. GWM has an expansive product line-up, which includes traditional fuel-powered, pure electric, hybrid and other new energy models. GWM is actively developing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as well. GWM also has a huge global presence, as it’s one of the first few Chinese carmakers to export vehicles to markets around the world.
Hardeep Singh Brar
Coming to India
In India, we’ve officially launched the brand as GWM, and we’ve entered with two brands – Haval and GWM EV. We call Haval the ‘Global Intelligent SUV Expert’. This brand has been a market leader in China for the past 10 years in terms of SUVs – and this speaks to the kind of pedigree Haval has and the kind of technology, features & designs it brings to the table, keeping in mind that China is among the toughest markets in the world. The second product category that we’ve brought into India is in the EV space, and the brand is named ‘GWM EV’. Going forward, our plan is to launch multiple EVs in India, as the charging infrastructure also improves across the country.
We are looking at an approximate investment figure of $1 billion US dollars (approximatley `7,000 crore) over the next few years. The investment will also go into our R&D centre in Bengaluru, which has been operational for the past four years. We opened it in 2016, and, since then, a fair amount of work has been done with respect to our international models and also to study the Indian market. The third important aspect where we’ll be investing is in our supplier base because, at the end of the day, they are immensely important and a good level of localisation is crucial. To achieve this, we are in talks with our suppliers in China, and some in India as well, to ensure that our localisation strategy remains strong. The last piece, of course, is the marketing & sales network. This is the area where a fair share of our investment will go once we’re closer to the product launches. So, in brief, this is our strategy & investment plan for India.
In order to sell more cars in India, we really need to stand out. There are four aspects that we are focussing on. First, of course, are our breakthrough designs - this is important for us because design is the first aspect of a vehicle that a customer evaluates. The second aspect is the performance of the cars – we are making sure that the engines & transmissions that we have are worldclass and ahead of all others. The third important focus area is the ‘premium feel’ of both the interior & exterior of our cars – something that we wish to disrupt. Lastly, safety has become very crucial for all consumers and we are bringing a host of intelligent safety features, which not only take into account passive safety but also active safety.
At the core of every automotive organisation is the product. We recently had an exclusive meeting with close to 50 select dealers from across the country, and some of them happened to be premium car brand dealers as well. When they saw our products, they remarked that everything, from the look to the finish & quality of the cars, was top-level, and they could be easily compared to any premium product out there.
When you have such a solid product at the core of your strategy, I think consumers are going to love it. Judging by the look on the visitors’ faces when they saw our products at the Auto Expo, I’m very confident that they are going to love the brand and latch on to it once it’s launched.
There are three critical aspects to watch out for when it comes to EVs. The first is the range of the vehicle or battery capacity. I think an EV requires a minimum of 250-300kms of driving range based on Indian conditions, because if you’re planning a long journey, you wouldn’t want to stop on the way to charge the vehicle – a plausible scenario if your car’s range is only about 100125kms. So, a 250-300km range is the bare essential. The second aspect is the charging infrastructure. Obviously, when you’ve exhausted the range and you wish to charge the car overnight, then the infrastructure should be easily accessible. Third, and the most important aspect, is the cost of ownership. There’s no doubt that the government is working hard to make EV adoption mainstream via multiple subsidy options. If you look at the GST rates, EVs attract about 5% whereas a conventional ICE-powered vehicle is taxed at about 40-45%. Despite this big gap in taxation, the initial cost difference between an EV and a conventional car is still too high, at about 70-80%. I feel that unless this initial price gap is brought down to below 25-30%, people will continue to shun the idea of owning an EV as the price increase still won’t be justified. The localisation of parts & batteries, especially, is important to achieve this. I think as soon as all these pieces come together, only then will we see the required change.
GWM AT AUTO EXPO
Great Wall Motors (GWM) made their debut at the 2020 Auto Expo among much fanfare. The company is famous around the world for its range of cutting-edge SUVS, electric vehicles and passenger cars, all of which were showcased at the 2020 Auto Expo.
GWM confirmed its plan to enter India with two brands – Haval and GWM EV. Alongside this major announcement, GWM also took Auto Expo 2020 as the stage for the global unveil of the Concept H SUV. In addition to the Concept H, GWM gave us a glimpse into the future of electric and connected technology, as they also showcased the Vision 2025 concept. At the Auto Expo, GWM also showcased its global range of SUVs from the Haval brand, as well as its electric vehicles. To emphasize the theme of ‘Intelligent Mobility Redefined’, GWM showcased a numberof vehicles from their global portfolio, which included the Haval H9, F7, F7x, F5 and the GWM EVs, namely – the iQ & R1. At the GWM pavilion, the company also had a unique functional area, which showcased the company’s Lithium Ion Battery, Haval Intelligent Home, Haval Intelligent Safety Display, and Great Wall Autonomous EV.
GWM will invest $1 billion in manufacturing, R&D, production of batteries & electric drivetrains, and component manufacturing in India
Commenting on the prospects of Great Wall Motors in India, Mr. Wei Jianjun, Chairman, GWM, stated, “This is indeed a proud moment for us, as we are on the erge of entering the Indian automotive market. We are excited at the limitless possibilities that lie ahead, as India is an important market for us. At GWM, we aim to set new benchmarks in the Indian automobile industry and hope to create an everlasting relationship with the discerning Indian customer. With the R&D center in Bangalore, and now our participation at the 15th edition of the Auto Expo, we want to further ascertain the importance of India as a core strategic market.”
With the India debut of its Haval and GWM EV brands, GWM aims to offer high technology premium products to Indian consumers, and also contribute to the government’s vision of a pollution free renewable energy-based society. In addition to this, the GWM pavilion showcased its technological strength in the areas of Smart, Intelligent and Autonomous vehicles, which, as expected, were the major attractions in this edition of the Auto Expo. GWM also showcased its Intelligent Home concept, where one can control home appliances connected with the Intelligent Connected vehicles. In addition, GWM showcased a slew of interactive activities to engage vistors of the expo, such as the Intelligent Safety of HAVAL SUVs, New Energy Products, and many more.
More importantly, GWM revealed its plans and its commitment for the Indian market. Over the past decade, GWM has invested over 1.5 billion US dollars for the research and development of cutting-edge technologies, such as new energy, intelligent vehicles that can even perform autonomous driving. They have also built exclusive platforms and product line-ups for new energy vehicles. GWM plans to invest $1 billion US dollars (approximatley `7,000 crore) in a phased manner, covering manufacturing, vehicle research & development, production of batteries & electric drivetrains, as well as vehicle & component manufacturing. The company plans to employ close to 3,000 employees in a phased manner.
Haval Concept H Plug-in Hybrid SUV
GWM chose Auto Expo 2020 as the stage for the global unveil of the Concept H SUV, showing the brand’s commitment to the Indian market. The Concept H is a plug-in hybrid SUV that is designed to be young and sporty. The main draw of the Concept H is its superb design. With its aggressive front fascia that features a large chrome grille, sleek LED headlamps and an aggressive stance, this SUV looks butch and futuristic in equal measure. The 19-inch alloy wheels are tastefully done, too. On the inside, the Concept H is loaded to the gills with tech and modern features, such as a digital instrument cluster, an LED light bar, fabric inlays, a panoramic sunroof, and more. The Concept H is also equipped with forward collision alert and autonomous emergency braking systems. The Concept H aims to make the vehicle a part of the active lifestyle of consumers around the world, and in India. And with its futuristic tech and striking design, it’s sure to win many hearts.
Vision 2025 Concept
The Vision 2025 Concept is an idea of what the future holds for us, and it looks very promising indeed! At the Auto Expo 2020, GWM gave us a glimpse at the future of electric and connected technology with the Vision 2025 concept. According to Haval, the Vision 2025 Concept is an intelligent and smart SUV for the new era, which is built on the four leading concepts of hyper sensory visual design, autonomous interaction, full-scene ecological service and intelligent driving assistance. This also explains why it’s called a ‘Next Gen Vehicle’. The Vision 2025 looks the part, and is loaded with futuristic tech, such as 5G infotainment connectivity, automated parking, face recognition, and advanced autonomous driving modes. The Vision 2025 is truly a car from the future – it’s clean, connected and is brimming with futuristic tech. According to the company, it’s not simply an SUV, for its designers and engineers have explored new ways to develop this vehicle using advanced technology, developed in GWM’s 10 global R&D centres.
The Haval H9 is a ‘Smart All Terrain True Blue Blood’ luxury SUV that integrates powerful off-road performance, connected intelligence, advanced safety technology and a luxurious interior design. The Haval H9 is sheer brute force on wheels – in the way it looks and feels, it’s a quintessential SUV. Not to mention the fact that it’s truly meant to go off the beaten path, as it’s equipped with three differential locks (front/ middle/rear), an off-road cruise control, and overall breakthrough performance. In short, the Haval H9 has all the ingredients to qualify as a perfect SUV.
The Haval F5 is the first model in the company’s F Series, and is positioned as a trendy, intelligent, connected SUV. The Haval F5 is designed keeping youngsters in mind, and, as a result, it has a sharp and sleep look. The main highlight of the F5 is its Connected Intelligence, Superior Aesthetics, Exciting Driving Experience and Intelligent Safety. These four aspects are deeply rooted in the DNA of the HAVAL F5, and it shows. The Haval F5 fully demonstrates the brand’s youthful spirit and determination to understand young users and build cars for them, keeping the latest global trends in mind. This is an SUV that’s young-atheart, but it’s also equally intelligent.
The Haval F7 is positioned as a Artificial Intelligence (AI) connected SUV by the brand, and is the first product that marks Haval’s shift to a Global design language and diversified product style. The H7 prioritises five key factors – connectivity, intelligent safety, ultimate comfort, powerful performance and exciting design. One of the most impressive things about the F7 is its contemporary design, which sure attracted a lot of eyeballs at the expo. The Haval F7 has been on sale for just over a year in global markets, and is already a very popular SUV among young consumers.
The Haval F7x is a stylish coupe SUV that has a very unique and trendy design. Like the F7, the F7x is also positioned as an Artificial Intelligence (AI) connected SUV, albeit in a suave coupe form. The Haval F7x looks more dynamic, thanks to its fastback styling. The F7x is Haval’s aggressive take on the growing coupe segment and demonstrates that rugged and sporty can co-exist together. The F7x was definitely one of the show stoppers at the Auto Expo 2020.
The GWM R1 is the future of electric as well as smart mobility for the asses. This cute little electric vehicle is built on the ME platform, which is the first exclusive platform for electric vehicles in China. The R1 is a smart mobility vehicle that does not compromise on space or safety. Its lightweight design provides it with characteristics of better mileage and lower power consumption. In fact, the R1 has a range of 351kms, which is remarkable. At the same time, the R1 is compact, flexible and lively – a perfect daily runabout with zero-tailpipe emissions. The GWM R1 can be described as an EV that’s trendy on the inside and out. The GWM R1 is truly a new generation EV that promises to make smart and sustainable mobility accessible to the masses.
The GWM iQ marks a perfect amalgamation of style and sensibility, for it’s a new generation pure electric compact Fastback Sedan, which is equipped with a cutting-edge lithium-ion battery pack and permanent magnet synchronous motor. This cool looking fastback is also high on practicality – not only does it have more space but it also offers a comprehensive range of 401kms per charge. As for its design, the iQ is fashionable and futuristic. And it’s a similar story on the inside too - the interior space and design compliments the beauty of simplicity and smart mobility. On top of that, it comes loaded with tech and connectivity options that make it a truly world class EV. Put simply, this has all the makings to be a gamechanger in the EV space.