Happy First Birthday HAVAL!

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Five hundred percent. Yes 500.

That's how much Haval retail sales have increased in SA in a scant 10 months, with the brand having launched here almost precisely one year ago.

So, yes, we might live in an age of euphemism and hyperbole. An age where even a moderately good hamburger is dubbed "legendary."

Even so, there's no denying that Haval's performance in the past 12 months has been anything less than phenomenal and fantastic, awesome and unprecedented.

After all, when Haval debuted on the Mzansi market with a memorable media and dealer launch at Kyalami, it was an almost totally unknown quantity.

At least to South Africans. Over in China, of course, Haval is that country's leading SUV manufacturer with sales of over one million units a year.

But here at last was a Sino vehicle that didn't deserve to be damned with that faint praise of "not bad for a Chinese car" -  and it should be said that the Chinese vehicles that SA had experienced up until then had generally varied from acceptable at best to pretty appalling. With the exception, of course, of GWM, with Haval essentially being the luxury sub-brand of this stalwart which has had a local presence for over a decade.

The SA buyer, however, is sharp. And with outstanding support from the local motoring media, Havals quickly began flying out of the showrooms.

Not too surprising, really.

Especially when you consider that on everything from fit and finish to ride and refinement, and kit and comfort levels, the likes of the Haval H2 - the first model offered here - and the Haval H6 C are simply world class.

"As you may know, we started with three Haval dealers initially, with very low retail figures in June 2017, but with full back up from the factory, and have now expanded to 29 Haval dealers countrywide," says Charles Zhao, Managing Director, Haval SA.

"Haval retail sales increased 500 percent in South Africa within the last ten months. Our objective is to have 35 Haval dealers across the country by the end of this year. Haval will continue to provide a wide variety of product for customers along with impeccable quality and safety features."

Speaking of safety - often the Achilles heel of Chinese vehicles in the past - Haval comes up trumps, as it does in terms of parts availability with a first pick rate of 94 percent.

The Haval H2, for instance, obtained a five-star A-NCAP rating in Australia, while the Haval H6 provides occupants with a comprehensive safety experience, thanks in part to laser welding technology being applied to the body, and over 65 percent high-strength steel being used in its construction.

Auto awards soon followed.

Within some three months of launching in SA, the Haval H2 was a semi-finalist in the prestigious Cars.co.za Consumer Awards powered by WesBank - making it the first Chinese brand to crack the nod as a semi-finalist in any local car awards.

In February this year, meanwhile, after the local launch of the highly acclaimed Haval H6 C,  Haval was awarded "The Company to Watch" accolade by CAR magazine in its "Special Awards" category accorded in its "Top 12 Best Buys of 2018" awards.

More good news is the upcoming September advent of the Haval H9.  A seven-seater SUV that has  outshone more expensive rivals such as Mercedes-Benz and Holden in Australia, and which drew high praise from  judges in that country's toughest, most coveted 4X4 awards in 2017 - along the way cementing the big H9's credentials as a machine rugged enough to survive the Australian outback.

To celebrate its first birthday, meanwhile, Haval is delighted to re-announce its SUV Month which started from May 1 and ends June 30.

Some of the perks of Haval's SUV Month include free rear-view mirror navigation on the H6 C City models (limited to 100 vehicles), and R10 000 trade-in assistance on the  H2 and H6 C range from May to August.

Qualified customers will also benefit from subsidized interest rates through Haval Finance, a product of WesBank, on the Haval H6 C  up until the end of June, while all customers who purchase a Haval H6 C or H6 1.5 Turbo will stand a chance to win a fuel voucher to the value of R5 000.

And as CAR magazine was moved to note:

"We tested two vehicles in its model line-up - the H2 and the H6 C - and walked away genuinely impressed by the marked leap in design, sophistication and build quality offered by both."


From motoring media to customers, Haval's welcome in South Africa has been little short of delighted...