GWM Haval’s Australian operations are booming, with the revitalised ute and SUV maker becoming one of this country’s fastest-growing car brands – carving a similar path to that already trod by fellow Chinese brands MG and LDV.

    VFACTS industry data shows the company, listed under the combined ‘GWM’ brand, has grown its sales by a whopping 271 per cent this year.

    In May alone its sales grew an even larger 357 per cent – meaning a near four-fold growth rate over the corresponding period in 2020.

    GWM is the re-branded Great Wall Motor, the eponymous maker of utes/pickups and Haval-branded SUVs.

    Haval entered the Australian market under a factory distributor in 2015, which also took over importation of Great Wall from independent contractor Ateco in 2016.

    But a few years selling dated previous-generation products meant the brand spun its wheels for a fair while until getting anywhere drastic. Things have changed, it seems.

    The company ‘s star performer is the new 2021 GWM Ute 4×4, which found 747 owners in May to take its annual tally to 2386 units. These numbers equate to 4.2 per cent 4×4 ute market share in May and 3.0 per cent share year-to-date (YTD).

    For a little more context, the GWM Ute’s standout May tally of 747 sales put it ahead of 4×4 versions of the Volkswagen Amarok (588), Toyota LandCruiser 70 (604), and supply-constrained LDV T60 (518).

    Meantime GWM is also still selling the old sub-$20,000 starting-price Steed (which itself is just a rebadged Great Wall V Series ute), with 453 finding homes this year.

    We understand there are still a few hundred units out there in dealers, which will tide GWM over until base 4×2 versions of the new model hit local showrooms later this year.

    4×4 modelMay sales2021 YTD sales
    Ford Ranger391117,697
    Toyota Hilux349117,682
    Mitsubishi Triton20749836
    Isuzu D-Max 25338143
    Mazda BT-50 12255522
    Nissan Navara 13224739
    Toyota L’Cruiser 6044418
    VW Amarok5883366
    LDV T60 5182704
    GWM Ute7472386
    RAM 15002621306
    Ssangyong Musso123723
    Chev Silverado 1500175587
    Jeep Gladiator68467
    GWM Steed27188

    But there are other reasons for GWM’s Australian operations to feel confident.

    In its first month on sale, the new Haval H2-replacing Haval Jolion small SUV found 273 buyers.

    Combine this figure with the runout H2’s 281 sales and this gave GWM 554 sales and 4.5 per cent market share in the Small SUV segment.

    That’s almost par with the Honda HR-V (4.6) and Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross (4.7).

    Year-to-date, the Haval H2 – the last stock of which is now clearing – has found 1694 buyers, up 193 per cent.

    Its 3.0 per cent annual market share is greater than that managed by the Suzuki Vitara (1528 sales, 2.7 per cent share) and equal to the Volkswagen T-Roc (1683 sales, 3.0 per cent share).

    Haval’s other new product is the H6 mid-sized SUV, which replaces the previous generation H6. This model has found 379 buyers YTD, up 75.5 per cent.

    Given the H2 and Steed are about to be retired, the Haval Jolion and H6 and GWM Ute will be the mainstays of the company’s range for the foreseeable future.

    They also happen to compete in the three most popular vehicle segments: Small SUV, Medium SUV, and 4×4 Ute.

    The final member of the GWM line-up for now is the Haval H9, a mainstay since the brand launched.

    This frame-based 4×4 is similar in size to a Ford Everest but uses petrol power. It’s found 231 buyers in 2021, up 122 per cent.

    What comes next? Well, a patent filing on the IP Australia database shows the Tank 300, GWM’s new body-on-frame SUV, is under serious consideration.

    GWM also operates the Ora electric-vehicle sub brand and Wey luxury SUV brand in China, though any Australian-market presence for these is up in the air.

    GWM’s growth is one part of Australia’s growing interest in Chinese products, which are becoming more competitive than ever with modern design and long warranties, while undercutting rivals on price.

    MG has sold 15,241 cars this year, up nearly 250 per cent and sufficient to put the brand in the overall top 10.

    LDV (globally part of the same umbrella company as MG but sold in Australia by a different importer) has recorded 5459 sales despite T60 ute supply issues, up nearly 160 per cent.

    Top import sources YTD:

    • Japan 164,752 sales, up 51 per cent
    • Thailand: 96,684 sales, up 19.4 per cent
    • South Korea: 62,883 sales, up 40.4 per cent
    • China: 27,430 sales, up 241.8 per cent
    • Germany: 17,844 sales, down 22.8 per cent
    BrandYTD salesChange
    Isuzu Ute14,841102.7%
    M-Benz Cars12,81129.1%

    Mike Costello
    Mike Costello is a Senior Contributor at CarExpert.
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