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Struggling Haval takes knife to prices

Down down: Three months after cutting the price of its entry level H2 SUV, Haval has introduced across-the-board driveaway pricing.

With just 60 sales to its name, Haval cuts prices by up to $6000 to get SUVs moving

Haval logo8 Jun 2016

By RON HAMMERTON

CHINESE SUV specialist Haval Motors Australia (HMA) has taken the end-of-financial-year snippers to prices of its three-model range, after struggling to move metal since launching in the super-competitive Australian market last year.

While entrenched market leader Toyota and its giant national dealer network have shifted 25,568 SUVs in the first five months of this year, Haval – which does not yet publish official sales figures via the official VFACTS service – is believed to have sold just 60 units, mostly split between its compact H2 and flagship H9 large off-road wagon.

This would place the Great Wall Motors subsidiary about 31st and second last of the active players in the Australian SUV sales rankings, in front of only of Bentley which has registered 10 of its $423,600 Bentaygas since its launch in March.

Hamstrung by a restricted dealer network, no diesel variants, little brand equity, low advertising profile and over-optimistic pricing expectations of head office in China, Haval vehicle stocks have been piling up.

HMA managing director Parker Shi indicated that Haval was still coming to terms with the Australian market.

“We are a young company, but a company that learns fast,” he said. “And we have learnt very quickly that Australian customers appreciate a good deal when they see it.

“We are continually monitoring feedback from dealers, the media and customers and this has resulted in our first ever drive away pricing campaign.”

All three Haval models – H2, H8 and H9 – get the benefit of the stocktake sale pricing regime that might or might not continue beyond the official end of the program on June 30, but the biggest cuts have been applied to the least popular Haval model, the mid-range H8 large SUV.

The H8 range that usually starts at $41,990 plus on-roads for the two-wheel-drive H8 Premium now starts at $38,990 driveaway – an effective price cut of about $5000.

The most upmarket H8, the all-wheel-drive Luxury, drops from $48,990 to $44,990, with free on-roads to boot. This adds up to an estimated effective benefit of more than $6000 – the biggest in the range.

The move to drive-away discount pricing on all three Haval models comes just three months after Haval cut the effective price of its entry level H2 Premium manual by more than $3000, from an uncompetitive $26,490 plus on-road costs, to $24,490 driveaway.

Now, that H2 price drops by a further $1000, to $23,990 driveaway. As well, customers can upgrade to the six-speed automatic version for just $1000, at $24,990 driveaway.

While all Haval models get driveaway special pricing, not all vehicles get a price cut. In its Premium guise, the flagship H9 large SUV’s price remains unchanged at $46,490 (but with free on-roads), while the top-of-the-range H9 Luxury drops by $1000, to $49,990 driveaway.

One of the factors hampering sales of Haval models has been the lack of a diesel alternative to the petrol engines in its larger models, but as HMA announced last week, that is not going to change, with head office in China declaring no Haval vehicle will get diesel power.

Instead, Haval’s alternative powertrain future will hinge around plug-in hybrid and full-electric variants.

2016 Haval driveaway pricing
H2 Premium 4x2$23,990
H2 Premium 4x2 (a)$24,990
H2 Premium 4x4$26,490
H2 Lux 4x2$25,990
H2 Lux 4x2 (a)$26,990
H2 Lux 4x4$28,490
H8 Premium 4x2 (a)$38,990
H8 Premium 4x4 (a)$41,990
H8 Lux 4x4 (a)$44,990
H9 Premium 4x4 (a)$46,490
H9 Lux 4x4 (a)$49,990

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