Great Wall Motors (GWM) was hit with a big jolt when the Government of Maharashtra had frozen the investment of the Chinese automaker on the backdrop of border disputes between India and China. Amidst growing outrage against Chinese products, GWM's entry into the Indian market was put under a shadow.
It now appears that the company has revised its entry strategy for the Indian market due to an inordinate delay in FDI approvals from the central government. The massive surge in Covid-19 cases also hadn't helped the matter either. Hence, the company has now shelved its initial plans to take on the mainstream market with a range of locally assembled or manufactured cars.
New GWM Strategy For India
Instead, GWM is now adopting a top-down approach that focuses on importing completely knocked-down kits (CKD) and completely built units (CBU) to the Indian market. Under the revised scheme of things, GWM will now enter the Indian market with a D-segment SUV and a smaller B-segment electric hatchback or SUV (MG ZS EV rival). These models will be CBU imports hence will demand a hefty price.
In order to distinguish itself from established automakers in the highly competitive Indian market, GWM will focus on cleaner mobility such as hybrid, electric as well as hydrogen fuel-cell technology. A top-of-the-line flagship SUV is likely to be retailed under the Haval brand and will be offered with a hybrid powertrain. On the other hand, the smaller electric hatch or SUV is expected to wear the ORA brand.
Challenges Faced By GWM
With GWM's entry back on track, the company's President of India operations has already returned to the country along with a few Chinese experts from the production and engineering team to implement the alternative plan.
The company has started reaching out to a few dozen executives to build a leadership team across marketing, sales and dealer development. GWM now awaits the approval of the FDI from the Central Government which the company hopes to get a green signal by the end of second quarter of current FY2022 fiscal.
Another challenge GWM currently faces is the ongoing dispute between workers and General Motors India at the Talegaon facility in Maharashtra which was acquired by the Chinese carmaker last year. The company, however, is hopeful that both parties will reach a mutual understanding in the coming months.
Upcoming Haval SUV
GWM showcased a wide range of products at the last edition of Auto Expo held in February 2020. This included a mid-size SUV called Haval H6 which is already undergoing homologation with Auto Research Association of India (ARAI) for over six months. India was touted to be one of the largest export hubs for GWM but that hat might now be passed on to Thailand or Russia where the company has started production.