Chinese automaker Great Wall Motor Company (GWM), with its two sub-brands—Haval and GWM EV–premiered in the Indian market on Wednesday at the Auto Expo 2020. GWM, China’s largest SUV maker, is now eyeing the Indian market with a $1 billion (₹7,000 crore) investment plan for a manufacturing plant, research and development (R&D), component manufacturing, and production of power batteries and electric drives.

The company has come well prepared and has already signed an agreement with General Motors to acquire its manufacturing plant in Talegaon near Pune after the latter’s exit from India in 2017.

“The acquisition will be completed in the second half of 2020. GWM will realise the production of EV and SUV models under the Great Wall [brand] at this plant.” the company said.

The company has already started manufacturing the HAVAL SUV at the plant and has also invested in a lithium mining company.

The company said that the acquisition of an existing plant will ensure that the new entrant will have a locally-made product in the market as early as next year.

“India has become one of the world’s fastest-growing major economies and the auto market is promising, making it a preferred investment destination for most auto companies. We are introducing our global intelligent SUV expert brand—HAVAL and plan to cover the complete range of SUVs, which will be the preferred choice of the young, dynamic, and new generation consumers of India,” Hardeep Brar, director, sales and marketing, GWM India said.

With such an outlay of cash and resources in the Indian market, its cars will provide an affordable alternative and will compete with MG Hector and Tata Harrier on Indian roads.

GWM launched HAVAL H9, F7, F7x, and F5 models at the expo. The company also plans to launch a new energy brand Great Wall EV and has plans to invest in battery R&D and manufacturing in India to reinforce and accelerate India’s electric transition.

On the face of it, the company is targetting the millennials. “With this, we reinforce our focus on global consumers, and also the young consumers of India in particular. This car [HAVAL] is designed to be young and sporty,” the company said.

Its electric offering, the Vision 2025 SUV has 5G in-car infotainment and services, automated parking and advanced autonomous driving modes.

The successful run of the Chinese SAIC Motor-owned Morris Garages has led to other Chinese players like GWM and Haima Automobile entering the Indian market. Industry experts say that India’s SUV market might lose significant market share to the Chinese players because of their cost-competitiveness.

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