HAVAL WANTS WORLD-LEADING DRIVETRAIN R&D
Former Daimler and BMW engineers leading China brand’s charge
Great Wall Motor (GWM) — parent of the eponymous ute brand, plus HAVAL, Wey and Ora — has lured engineers from big European OEMs and invested billions into R&D, with the ambitious goal of being a world-leading drivetrain producer and supplier. Clearly not lacking ambition, GWM this week showed us its new, billion-dollar development centre near Baoding — a sprawling complex with 7000 staff, dominated by a 24 storey skyscraper — and its 800,000 annual-capacity factory with high speed test track and 24/7 automated line.
Car companies love to show media their factories and tech centres, so we’ve seen a few. This one is up there. Much like other rising Chinese behemoths SAIC (owner of MG, Roewe and Maxus/LDV) and Geely(Volvo, Lotus and Lynk & Co), GWM is bored with ‘just’ selling a million-plus vehicles per year at home. Exports won’t just add volume, but internal prestige. It’s national pride, and global emission and safety demands will force it to improve.
“It’s a lot more dynamic here”
“The DCT from the beginning was a strategic project. First we wanted very good suppliers, like a Borg Warner clutch and Conti software/hardware at first — work with experienced suppliers. “But we’re doing calibration and software by ourself now, and will do clutches and control units by ourself as well. You develop by ourself to save money and be flexible.” Henning reckons GWM now has better production machinery for die casting and machining than his former employers, VW and Daimler — mostly Swiss and German machines that cost huge money — and superior software logic, including programs to control noise suppression.
HAVAL is a specialist manufacturer of premium SUVs and is the No.1 SUV brand in the world’s largest automotive market and has been for the past 15 years. In 2017 Brand Finance valued HAVAL as the “world’s most powerful SUV brand” ahead of Jeep and Land Rover. With over 4 million customers, last year HAVAL was the world’s 10th largest SUV manufacturer outselling Mercedes, BMW and Mitsubishi SUVs. Our success is due to a combination of commitment, passion and listening to our customers. We utilise the best features, safety and technologies from around the globe to produce world class SUVs.
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