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Great Wall postpones sale of H8 sport utility vehicle for three months

2014-01-26 09:25 Global Times Web Editor: qindexing

China's leading sport utility vehicle maker has delayed the release of its Haval H8 car, leading to sharp drop in its share price on January 14.

Great Wall Motor Company postponed sales of the H8 for three months in a bid to fix problems found in a test drive held early January.

Problems included a long brake distance, engine and wind noise, and little difference in the engine setting between sport and economy modes.

The company asked for understanding on its Weibo account on January 14, noting that as the first Chinese SUV priced higher than 200,000 yuan ($33060), the H8 could not have flaws.

Debuting on November 22, 2013 at the Guangzhou Auto Show, the H8 should have gone on sale in January.

Great Wall on January 10 invited customers and auto industry reporters to an H8 test drive.

A web user who joined the test drive, released a test-drive report on January 12 on the auto news website autohome.com.cn, claiming the H8 is the best Chinese brand SUV.

The delay triggered wide discussion.

Xu Feng, auto editor at the 21st Century Business Herald, said on his Weibo account on January 17 that the delay might just be hunger marketing.

Feng Shiming, an executive director of Shanghai-based Menutor Consulting, told the Global Times Tuesday that the delay shows Great Wall is responsible about its product, noting he is confident about the long-term development.

The delay will not dent sales of the H8, Wu Shuocheng, chief editor of auto news website auto.gasgoo.com, told the Global Times Tuesday, noting Chinese customers' passion for SUVs will hold steady.

Zhang Zhiyong, an independent analyst, said the Great Wall expanded too fast in recent years, including separating Haval as an independent brand, China Business Journal reported on January 18.

Great Wall developed quickly recently, Wu said, and gained a high profitability. Efforts at producing a high-end SUV such as the H8 piled pressure on the company.

Producing a high-end SUV means investment in design and technology that may reduce its profitability, he believed.

In 2013, Great Wall sold 754,000 cars, 21 percent higher than 2012, including 417,400 SUVs, 48.47 percent up year-on-year, according to its sales report released on January 8 on the website of the Shanghai Stock Exchange.

According to its third quarter report released on October 25, 2013, in the first nine months of 2013, Great Wall amassed revenue of about 41 billion yuan, 38.39 percent up year-on-year, with 6 million yuan profit, surging 60.67 percent year-on-year.

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