Great Wall Motor brand Haval is leaving the large SUV segment in Australia for now at least, but the Tank brand and its growing range of SUVs are firmly on the table.
The Chinese company has confirmed the aged, body-on-frame Haval H9 will disappear from local showrooms.
“Production of the H9 for Australia has now ended and while we are working with our Head Office colleagues on options for a large SUV replacement, we don’t have any further information to share at this point,” said a spokesperson for GWM Haval Australia.
The company has said the Tank brand remains “very much under consideration for Australia” and the company isn’t ruling out any specific models at this stage.
The Haval H9, therefore, could be replaced by the Tank 500, which offers a choice of a 3.0-litre turbo-petrol mild-hybrid V6 or a recently revealed 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder hybrid.
The former produces 260kW of power and 500Nm of torque, the latter 180kW and 380Nm. Both use a nine-speed automatic transmission developed in-house.
The Tank 500 features body-on-frame construction and a locking rear differential like the H9 but shares a new architecture with the likes of the upcoming GWM X Cannon full-sized ute, and is sized similarly to the Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series.
The outgoing Haval H9 is closer in size to the LandCruiser Prado, and is offered with a single powertrain: a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine producing 180kW of power and 350Nm of torque, mated with a four-wheel drive system and a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic.
It was available in just two variants, with a suite of active safety technology plus available luxuries like heated, ventilated and massaging front seats, a panoramic sunroof, and a 10-speaker Infinity sound system.
The writing was arguably on the wall for the H9 in Australia when GWM Haval Australia ruled out bringing not just one, but two facelifted models.
Each facelift was admittedly minor, but the most recent one – revealed at the 2021 Chengdu motor show – brought a revised grille and a larger infotainment system.
The current Australian-spec H9’s screen measures 8.0 inches, making it the smallest in the Haval line-up.
The H9 picked up blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert in 2018, with autonomous emergency braking and adaptive cruise control made standard in 2019. Otherwise, the SUV has changed little since its introduction.
Despite the lack of a diesel engine, something that’s almost mandatory in this class of SUV, the H9 has managed to increase its sales every year since its 2016 introduction.
To the end of November, it’s sitting at 517 sales for 2021.
That puts it below the now diesel-only SsangYong Rexton (683) and the petrol and diesel LDV D90 range (1350), both of which are growing at a greater rate.
The H9 was one of the four models the Haval brand was launched with in Australia, along with the H2, first-generation H6, and the short-lived H8 with which the H9 shared its engine.
The large, unibody H8 crossover proved a slower seller than the H9, possibly due to its lack of a third row, and was axed in 2018. Just 114 were sold.
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Thanks to new product like the GWM Ute, Haval Jolion and redesigned Haval H6, GWM Haval is on target to reach its 18,000 annual sales goal in 2021, a 240 per cent increase on its sales last year.
Its local line-up could soon expand dramatically, with the company bringing left-hand drive examples of its H6-based Haval Big Dog crossover and the body-on-frame Tank 300 for evaluation purposes.
The GWM Ute-based Tank 300 is a two-row SUV smaller than the Prado, wearing bluff, boxy styling. It was the first product to wear the Tank nameplate, and features low-range gearing and electromechanical locking diffs front and rear.
The smoother 500 was revealed earlier this year, while the Tank brand has also revealed the angular, aggressive 400 and 700, plus a blinged-out flagship SUV called the Tank 800.
|Year||Haval H9 sales|
|2021 (to November 30)||517|
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