It’s going to be a busy year for Haval Malaysia and distributor Go Auto, as the company aims to grow its business both locally and in other markets in South East Asia – a plan outlined by CEO Ahmad Azam Suleiman during the launch of the H1 yesterday. Leading the onslaught are new products that will be making their way to the Malaysian market in the third quarter this year.

First up is the H6, a mid-sized SUV that slots above the H2, originally slated to arrive in June 2014. There are actually two versions that are on sale in various markets, the standard variant and the sportier H6 Coupe – the latter is the one sold in Australia, badged simply as the H6. Go Auto showed a video of the H6 Coupe during the event, which makes that one a more likely proposition.

Both models are powered by either the H2’s 147 hp/210 Nm 1.5 litre turbocharged petrol engine, a 194 hp/315 Nm 2.0 litre turbo petrol or a 161 hp/350 Nm 2.0 litre turbodiesel, matched to either a six-speed manual, a six-speed automatic (1.5T) or a six-speed dual-clutch transmission (2.0T petrol). Front- and all-wheel drive variants are available.

Also set for our shores is the H9, a full-size model offered in either five- or seven-seat configuration. This one gets an uprated version of the H6’s 2.0 litre turbo petrol that punches out 215 hp at 5,500 rpm and 324 Nm from 2,000 to 4,000 rpm, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive.

Meanwhile, Go Auto will introduce a locally-assembled (CKD) H2 in May, a year after the fully-imported (CBU) version. That’s quite a delay from the September 2016 date previously mooted, but it will likely bring prices some way down the current RM89,950 (Standard), RM98,950 (Comfort) and RM101,950 (Premium) retail prices (on-the-road with insurance). Exports to other ASEAN markets are also being planned.

On the sales side, a Buy Back Guarantee has been introduced on all models from January 1 – the company will offer buyers 50% of the car’s retail price after five years, which will go towards the purchase of a new Haval. Go Auto will also increase its network of 2S and 3S centres from 24 to 36 this year, and plans to raise production capacity from the current 25,000 vehicles a year in 2018.

These measures will all help the company as it aims for a rather lofty 9,000 sales target for this year, although that figure also includes exports to other markets – Ahmad Azam claims that it has exported around 1,500 vehicles since 2015. That’s a far cry from the 986 units it sold in 2016, of which only 33 were of the new H2; Go Auto hopes to sell over 200 units of the H2 in the first quarter alone. The aforementioned CKD models are also likely to improve sales for the rest of the year.

In terms of other markets, Go Auto currently has one Cambodian dealership in Phnom Penh; the company is looking to increase that number to three this year. Brunei, Thailand and Indonesia also have only one centre each, and Ahmad Azam says the company is looking at strengthening its business in major cities first before it expands its interests in those markets. Plans are also afoot to set up shop in Myanmar and the Philippines, which he says Go Auto will formally announce in due time.

GALLERY: Haval H6 Coupe


GALLERY: Haval H9
GALLERY: Haval H2