Chinese automobile manufacturer Great Wall Motors has finally decided to join those who have seen the true potential of the Indian automobile market. Headquartered in Baoding, Hebei, China, the company was established in 1984 as a heavy vehicle manufacturer and built their first passenger-segment automobile in 2010.
A public company listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, GWM holds recognition for a record-setting worldwide sales of over a million cars. From trucks, they moved to pickups and in 1998 became China’s top pickup manufacturer.
The company is known to put its workforce through months of physically and mentally challenging training at the time of hiring. They have six working days a week, and somehow, their regimes push production outcomes with considerable might.
They entered Europe with an offering of compact vans and SUVs and in 2010, became the first-ever Chinese manufacturer to market their product in the EU. Later they set up an assembly plant in Bulgaria where they began putting together a complete-knockdown unit for Europe sales. The company has expanded its unit-chain to countries like Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Iran, Nigeria, Russia, Senegal, Ukraine and Vietnam, all comprising of twenty international CKD assembly units.
In 2017, they introduced their first-ever electric vehicle, the C30EV. A year later, the company partnered with BMW to begin the manufacture of small electric cars in China. The Great Wall has elaborate expansion plans for international production facilities of fossil-fuel and electric-powered vehicles. Their main flagship line-ups include the Haval range of SUVs, Voleex range of passenger cars and Wingle pickup trucks. Their SUV brand Haval became an independent unit in 2013, marking the existence of two brands owned by the Great Wall name.
Among others, China has also been rallying for sustainable mobility and encouraging the growth of the electric automobile segment. It sees immense potential in small electric cars while acknowledging that dominion over this segment is time-sensitive and comparatively easier to achieve in its early stages of growth. Recently, the Chinese-made Ora R1 was introduced as the world’s most affordable electric car.
The company has now turned to the Indian sub-continent and has already set in motion, plans of setting up a unit in India. Owing to the success of both MG Motors’ Hector and Kia’s Seltos, GWM has plans to enter our market with a compact SUV and a range of electric vehicles eventually. One of their brands Haima has tied up with Bird electric – a part dealer for BMW and Mini in the Indian market and is looking for more vendors of spares and components. Haima comes from the combination of the words Hainan – the province where the brand was founded and Mazda – the platforms used by them for their first line ups.
They are also looking at creating an infrastructure for EV charging and building a network of such units across the country in preparation for their future electric offerings.
The company will be present at the 2020 Auto Expo and will be bringing along its popular electric range currently being sold in China. The line up includes the Aishang 360 hatchback, E3 midsized sedan, E5 SUV and the E7 MPV.
Great Wall Motors have registered their Indian subsidiary as Haval Motor India and have set in motion, an INR 7,000 Cr plan for the Indian market. Their office has been registered in Gurugram however since the company plans to save on taxation expenses, a separate entity might be setup alongside as well. Their Chairman is looking to meet Prime Minister Modi to discuss further on their investment and development plans in the country.
Meanwhile, their teams have checked out potential sites for the development of a manufacturing unit. Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have been shortlisted with the first two appealing enough to be on their top priority.
They have found a piece of land owned by Chinese truck-maker Foton in Chakan and GM’s plant in Talegaon near Pune, to be suitable for their need.
The company has already signed an MOU with GM for the Talegaon plant and may acquire it in entirety next year. The possession of an established setup will ensure quicker facilitation of the company’s India debut. Had they considered setting up a new establishment, their first product would take much longer to be introduced to the market.
The company is looking forward to their interaction with the Maharashtra CM to obtain his approval for further concessions on their setting up shop. They have plans for electric vehicles as well, and everything depends entirely on how soon and smooth their transition from seeking to sought happens. Since the state is abuzz with political agendas and the oncoming assembly election, further progress is temporarily on hold.
The company has meanwhile been focusing on role assignment and among the top new additions to their board and directorial teams are their India heads of projects and product strategy.