Chinese out to conquer the motoring world

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Andrew Muzamhindo..Analyst

Having attended the ritzy launch of Haval vehicles by Zimoco at Sam Levy’s, last Thursday, I was left with no doubt that the Chinese are out to conquer the motoring world.

I will share with you some of the facts that made me come to such a conclusion.Haval has poached top expertise from Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and BMW. This can be seen and felt in their products.

In June, Wei Jianjun, chairperson of Great Wall Motors (GWM), the mother company of Haval, was named among “Admirable People in China’s Automotive Sector during the 40-year Economic Reform and Opening Up”. This is no mean achievement taking into account the number of Chinese car manufacturers. GWM is currently ranked first in “China’s Valuable Listed Company Brands 2018”.

As the founder of the HAVAL brand, Wei always focusses on the future. His strategy for Haval is of “Global Dream … China Heart”. He said that the globalisation of Chinese brands is an inevitable trend. In the future development, HAVAL must go global to create products with global competitiveness, to build a globally influential brand, and to become the global SUV leader.

The global strategy is to realise the single annual sales volume of two million vehicles within five years and become the global No. 1 professional SUV brand. The release of this strategy indicates that in the near future, Haval will become the global No. 1 SUV brand.

In May 2019, HAVAL driverless car won several major awards at the World Intelligent Driving Challenge. Early this year, HAVAL F-Series was unveiled at Auto China, and HAVAL F5 won the “Best (Independent) New Auto Award”. It will be available in Zimbabwe by June 2020 all things being equal. I previewed this truck a few months ago.

I predicted that it will take on the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux because of its value for money, more luxury truck for less proposition
Sceptics have questioned Haval’s safety. You will be comforted to know that the H6 passed and obtained the rigorous C-NCAP five-star rating in April 2019.
GWM was successfully selected as one of “100 Listed Companies Highly Respected by Inventors” this year.

The factory in China is fully automated and produces a vehicle in 45 seconds. There are currently three assembly lines, meaning three vehicles in 45 seconds. My take is this is more than enough to service the whole globe. They might not need to set up factories in other countries, but maybe just assemble knocked down kits.

The HAVAL executive director for Africa, Charles Zhao, was asked by the media at the launch if Haval would consider setting up a factory in Zimbabwe. He said they would look into such projects in the future. Whilst his reply was diplomatic and politically correct, I am of the opinion that they might not need to. China has cheap labour and economies of scale. They will assemble knock-down kits in South Africa and distribute from there.

The fact that they have a 5 500-square metre parts warehouse in South Africa means that they are here for the long haul. The warehouse is more than 90% stocked. If it is not in stock they can get it from China within 14 days. According to Zhao, they are working towards achieving a 100% parts supply rate. The impressive warehouse in Durban keeps on average 8 000 different spare parts with a stock value exceeding US$15 million.

All spare part orders are systematically handled with a user-friendly online ordering system, Partrack. Dealers are therefore enabled to correctly identify a part and check its availability and price before placing an order.

In March 2019, the all-new compact SUV HAVAL H4 was officially launched. HAVAL H4 experienced the first public challenge of US IIHS Top Pressure Test, and passed the 4,56 times stress testing, showing its outstanding safety performance with excellent results.

In February 2019, Brand Finance, an international brand value assessment authority, released the list of “Brand Finance Global 500 2018”. As the No. 1 SUV brand, HAVAL was listed in the world’s top 500 most valuable brands and ranked ahead of other Chinese and European auto brands.

In December 2017, GWM’s annual sales hit the one million mark. Not many established automakers have achieved this feat.Haval has gone on to become a global brand with representation on all continents. Its offering of full house cars for less is bound to change the market dynamics soon.

The fact that it is now selling 1 000 units per month in South Africa should sound alarm bells to other manufacturers. Zimoco has already sold more than 60 units from February 2019 when they got the Haval franchise. That a brand with so much heritage as Zimoco has gone into bed with Haval should give comfort to buyers. — andrew@muzamhindo.com

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