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Future models - Haval - H7

Haval H7 to lob early 2018 with pricing lessons learnt

7 wonders: The Haval H7 will be pitched as a Mazda CX-9 rival but priced to compete with the mid-size CX-5 and its rivals.

Circa-$35,000 driveaway pricing targeted for seven-seat Haval H7

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Haval logo27 Jul 2017

By DANIEL DEGASPERI

HAVAL Motors Australia has revealed it will launch its Mazda CX-9-challenging H7 large SUV for the price of a Mazda CX-5, with the all-new seven-seater set to arrive in early 2018 as part of a major marketing and sales push from the brand.

Squeezing between the older H2 small SUV and H6 medium SUV, and the larger Prado-rivalling H9 off-roader, the H7 will likely usurp the slow-selling and similarly-sized H8 in the Haval line-up to become the newest model in the range.

A media preview was staged for the H7 in Darwin, Northern Territory, this week, where GoAuto was permitted to sit and ride in the vehicle, but without driving it.

Haval Motors Australia chief marketing officer Tim Smith revealed at the event that the H7 will launch with seven seats, a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol four-cylinder engine and six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission for around $35,000 driveaway, admitting the company had previously got the pricing wrong with other models.

“Pricing (for H7) is not set in but I’d love to be able to bring that into that competitive set where you’re up against Kia Sorento-style buyers with Mazda CX-5-style pricing, or even sharper,” he said.

“H7 will be the first one (model) where we try not to adjust that (pricing).

“We’ve got support from head office, but (I would) suggest that we’re going to get somewhere in between where this product will be attracting that larger SUV buyer at a small or mid-size SUV price, or even sharper.”

Mr Smith indicated to GoAuto in Darwin that this would be in the low-$30,000 region with driveaway pricing, however Haval Motors later clarified that the company is aiming for an entry point in the “mid-to-high” $30,000s.

“H7 has to compete with mid-spec, seven-seat mid-sized SUVs. We will be doing everything in our power to have pricing start in the mid-to-high 30s,” Mr Smith said later.

At its 2015 launch Haval priced its entry H2 Premium at $28,490 plus on-road costs. That has since fallen to $24,990 driveaway and was previously described as a limited offer but has since become permanent. Likewise the H8 Premium has dropped from $41,990 plus on-road costs to $38,990 driveaway.

“I think the learning curve (is) we were one of the first mature markets they (Haval) have gone to and we’ve had to adjust and move to driveaway pricing so that customers don’t have challenges,” Mr Smith continued.

“We have (implemented) the driveaway pricing to sharpen things up and make the compelling more compelling.

“H7 will be approached in a very much different way where you’ll have pricing and recommended retail and that driveaway component very close together, if not the same. We wanted people to associate Haval with high value.”

The chief marketing officer said that as with other Haval models there will be no entry-level H7, but rather middle-tier Premium and flagship Lux model grades.

“We’ll make it easy (with) seven seats standard, plenty of features for the Premium, the Lux gets the sunroof and massage chairs and other bits and pieces,” he continued.

“It’s got all the benefits of driving an H6 – DCT, turbocharged, very responsive turbocharging – but with seven seats.

“It’s important to bring this car in because it’s the next evolution of the brand. The market needs to see evolution for us and see that we’re learning and developing. H7, when you get to drive it, you’ll see that it speaks to a lot of the nuances that you (media evaluation) have picked up on in the H2 and H6.”

Mr Smith described the H7 as adding “incremental” growth to the range without taking from existing models. He said a decision was not yet made whether the five-seat H8 would continue, but admitted it had not sold as well as hoped.

Before the H7 arrives early next year, Haval will release an updated H9 with an eight-speed automatic and more power, while on the other side of its release an updated H6 will also arrive mid next year.

The H7 measures 4700mm long and is powered by a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine linked to a Getrag six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission – the only drivetrain available locally – with a claimed 9.3-second 0-100km/h.

Available are autonomous emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot monitor, lane-departure and lane-keep assistance, and rear cross-traffic alert with around-view monitor.

At the media preview, the cabin quality proved demonstrably superior to the sub-par H2, H6 and H9, although it was still not quite to Japanese standards.

As with other Haval products, the design appears to poach cues from several other brands, with the headlight switch aping a GM product, and the volume knob and rotary dial for the infotainment system taken from an Audi – down to a ‘drive select’ switch that curiously includes an Eco Pro mode as in a BMW.

Plastics graining and quality, however, is excellent and more than class competitive. It is in aspects of the graphics quality and menu descriptions – Sport mode is described as ‘raise driving dynamics, apply to fewer vehicles, vast and flat road’ – that indicates changes would still be required for the local market.

However, these are minor details. For the most part this three-row medium-to- large SUV is very roomy with excellent seats, simple slide-and-fold mechanisms with overhead vents for all rows.

If Haval could get the H7 to the local market for not much more than $30,000 driveaway, and if it drives as well as it looks, it could finally for the first time would give locals a reason to buy a Chinese SUV product.

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