Great Wall Haval E concept

Chinese SUV and pick-up truck maker Great Wall Motor (Haval E concept pictured here) has announced plans for investment of up to US$340 million (RM1.05 billion) in Thailand, according to a China Car Times report.

The plans involve a new Thai manufacturing facility that will churn out low- to mid-range SUVs and pick-up trucks, both for the domestic market and for export to neighbouring Middle Eastern nations. The plant will have an initial capacity of 100k units per year, with a further 50k added per phase of expansion.

It was also reported recently that the Baoding, China-based firm will spin Haval off as a stand-alone higher-level brand to compete with marques like Land Rover and Jeep. Haval will also have separate sales outlets from GWM’s other brands, a move that will take between two and three years.

Great Wall Haval H5

In 2012, GWM sold 621,400 units globally, with SUV sales making up over 40% of that number. A total of 96,500 units were exported in the same year, and over a million Haval SUVs have been sold in over 100 countries worldwide as of March.

New models expected to launch this year are the Haval H2, Haval H8, Great Wall C50 2013 and Wingle 6 – the upcoming Auto Shanghai should see a few of these make their motor show debuts.

Great Wall was launched in Malaysia by franchise holder Green Oranges back in 2011 with the Haval H5 SUV (pictured above) and Wingle 5 pick-up truck. The two vehicles are assembled in Gurun, Kedah. Read our brief driving impressions here.