Three New Chinese Carmakers Are India-Bound
It isn’t a secret that the Indian automobile industry is, and has been, under much stress for well over a year now. A market which has tremendous potential to become one of the largest in the world is trying to recover from a record-breaking slowdown. Still, the year 2019 saw the introduction of two new carmakers in India – Kia Motors and MG Motor. The former is part of the Hyundai Group, whereas the latter is one of the subsidiaries of the Chinese auto giant SAIC.
MG Motor India’s initial success with the Hector has garnered enough positivity for three new Chinese carmakers – Great Wall Motors (GWM); Changan Automobile; and FAW Haima Automobile. In times to come, all three automobile companies will set up shop in India. What’s more, the trio could show up at the 2020 Auto Expo with products and plans for India. If they do, the DriveTribe India team will be covering the developments live from the event.
Great Wall Motors
As you’d expect, the confirmed set of details are scarce at the moment. However, GWM has confirmed its entry into India via a tweet. Founded in 1984, the company is China’s largest SUV and pickup truck producer. Like MG, GWM has decided to commence its India innings with SUVs. And that means it will bring Haval-branded products. As for now, GWM is finalising a production site in India. Reports say that GM’s Talegaon plant in Maharashtra is at the top in the Chinese firm’s shortlist. Another possibility is a piece of land in Chakan (near Pune), which was acquired by a Chinese truckmaker Foton a few years ago.
Apart from Maharashtra, the company is also looking for options in Gujarat, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. As far as the product line-up is concerned, the Haval H6 is most likely to be the first SUV to land in India. In terms of dimensions, it falls in the same space as the MG Hector, Mahindra XUV500 and the Tata Harrier, and is available in both petrol and diesel guises. That said, the smaller Haval H4 could very well replace the H6 as the first offering, depending on how the brand wants to attack the market.
Changan Automobile has been in business a lot longer than Great Wall Motors. Founded in 1862, it manufactures a range of automobiles covering sedans, hatchbacks, SUVs and MPVs. Any guesses which category of cars shows the most promise in India? Yes. SUVs. Like GWM, Changan should take the SUV route to implant its roots, and is currently looking for a production site in India. Unlike its Chinese counterpart, however, Changan has a more extensive range of SUVs in its portfolio. At the moment, it is tough to say which segment it will first target.
Although Changan is yet to confirm any of these developments officially, reports suggest that it is considering as far as setting up EV battery assembly plants in India. If that turns out to be legit, Changan-branded EVs could find a way into India as well.
FAW Haima Automobile
Part of the First Automobile Works (FAW) Group, Haima Automobile is the third Chinese brand expected to show up at the motor show next month. In its early years, the company produced Mazda models for sale in China. However, Haima Automobile acquired Mazda’s stake in the venture in 2006. Now, it makes a range of SUVs, MPVs and electrified vehicles in China. It is by no means amongst the biggest names in people’s republic, but it does have a broad portfolio of products.
As things stand, there is no official word from the company about its plans for the Indian market. Also, there is a question mark on what all models will it showcase at the 2020 Auto Expo. At the event, the company plans to gauge consumer interest and collect feedback on its products. In the run to set up operations in India, GWM and Changan will probably outpace Haima Automobile.