HAVAL rules out diesels, commits to turbo-petrol
Chinese car maker HAVAL has formally ruled out diesel engines and committed to turbo-petrol engines… will that harm its chances here?
HAVAL IS ALREADY different by virtue of its country of origin, so it kind of makes sense to go all-in and be totally different. Maybe that’s why the company has now made a firm statement about its future engines which will not endear it to the average Aussie SUV buyer.
“The R&D experts at HAVAL have declared the future for the company will be powered by turbocharged petrol engines,” said HAVAL Motors Australia Chief Marketing Officer Tim Smith.
Smith also went on to say that “In the very near future that will be complemented by a mix of hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric powertrains.”
HAVAL had been asked by pretty much everyone about diesels, because that’s what we love here in Australia, and the company said that “a recent Australian delegation to head office raised customer and media questions about diesel”, which led to a “long and robust debate”. Presumably right after the discussion relating to the four-star safety rating for the H9.
So why petrol? HAVAL has decided that diesel has no future: “Ultimately the future of that fuel has been decided by the market, the actions of other companies and a growing push for more stringent clean air policies”.
“We have already seen reaction from markets like India, where the sale of vehicles powered by diesel engines greater than two litres in capacity have been banned since December last year.”
“Our team of engineers made a clear case they believe the development of diesel engines had reached its zenith and the era of smaller, more fuel efficient petrol engines and powerful hybrid and electric engines was upon us.”
So there you go, VW and others have stuffed up diesel which had no further development potential anyway. This will presumably come as news to everyone else in the market. Nevertheless:
“We left head office very excited by the future prospects for engine development and what it means for the Australian market.”
In other, less contentious news, HAVAL will now only produce automatic transmission vehicles, for example the new H6 SUV due to arrive here in September will come only a six-speed Getrag dual clutch transmission (DCT).
Diesel is extremely popular in the larger 4WD and SUV markets, to the point where many manufacturers are dropping petrol support entirely. So at face value, HAVAL’s decision makes no sense. But the average buyer who is wedded to diesel and unable to consider anything else is also the sort of buyer who is unlikely to consider HAVAL.
The reality is that the premium paid for diesel engines over petrol is unlikely to be recouped by many buyers even in the larger 4WD/SUV range, and almost never for the smaller vehicles. Petrols are still quieter and more refined than diesels, just as good offroad, arguably better onroad and can tow very well too. That said, for true heavy duty work and long range diesels are still king, but not all SUVs/4WDs are used as such workhorses.
It could well be that this move from HAVAL is a canny decision, as there’s little point a new entrant trying to fight established brands on their own turf, you need to move the fight to your own territory.