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Great Wall takes the luxury Wey

Wey out: Great Wall Motors has launched another SUV sub-brand, Wey, to sit above its current Haval range.

New Chinese luxury SUV brand Wey launched in China and registered in Australia

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17 Nov 2016

By RON HAMMERTON

GREAT Wall Motors has registered the brand name for its new luxury SUV line-up, Wey, in Australia and other western markets, indicating it is planning to take its latest venture to the world.

Launched at this week’s Guangzhou motor show in southern China where the company is showing two Wey SUV concepts, the new prestige range will sit above Great Wall’s Haval SUV sub-brand, presumably to take on the likes of Range Rover and European contenders such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo.

The division will be headed up by former Audi executive Jens Steingraeber who was recruited by Great Wall just last month as Wey CEO and Great Wall vice-president.

At Audi, Mr Steingraeber was mainly responsible for SUVs, most recently serving as Q3 product manager, but also had a hand in the R8 sports coupe and other Audi Sport products.

Former BMW SUV designer Pierre Leclercq, who has led the design team on the Haval line-up since 2014, will also be responsible for Wey design.

Great Wall is the second major Chinese motor company to launch a new luxury brand in recent weeks, with Geely announcing Lynk & Co for both China and export markets.

Great Wall is saying that Wey – thought to be named after company chairman Wei Jianjun – will only be sold in the Chinese market “at the moment”, but the trouble taken to register the trademark globally and the personnel involved indicates it has bigger plans.

A check of Australian trademark registrations by GoAuto shows Great Wall Motor Company applied for registration of Wey in June this year. Acceptance is due on December 1, 2017.

A similar trademark application has been lodged in the United States.

At Guangzhou, Wey is showing a pair of concept SUVs – the W01 and W02 – on a stand parked between the likes of Jaguar, Land Rover, Acura, Lincoln and BMW.

At the time of writing, details of the new vehicles were thin on the ground, but the smaller of the two SUVs is said to be 4.4 metres long – marginally longer than Audi’s compact Q3 and BMW’s X1 – while the other is larger at 4.8 metres, slotting in between the Audi Q5 and Q7.

Chinese reports say that Wey will offer vehicles with petrol and electric powertrains, as well as autonomous control.

The plan appears to be to capitalise on the success of Haval SUVs in China where the H6 has been the number one seller for several years.

In Australia, Great Wall Motors has established a factory-controlled import business to distribute both Great Wall and Haval products.

Haval’s body-on-frame H9 flagship SUV sells for $49,990 driveaway, while the one-size-smaller H8 tops out at $44,990 driveaway.

The company is set to launch its new H7 next year, slotting in between these existing models.

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