More for less? The Malaysia-bound Haval Jolion has its target set on Corolla Cross and HR-V
Eric · Dec 19, 2021 04:00 PM
In the past, Chinese SUVs sold in Malaysia barely made a dent in the market share of well-established rivals. I mean, when was the last time you actually saw a Chery Tiggo or Borgward BX5 on the streets?
It wasn't until the Proton X50 and X70 came along and people began to take Chinese SUVs more seriously, and that's a good thing.
Seeing the success of the X50 and X70 in Malaysia has prompted other Chinese manufacturers to hop onto the bandwagon, with their sights set on the lucrative SUV segment.
Amongst which is Haval, which has plans for not one, but two SUV introductions some time next year. After all, we were the first to break the news of both models in Malaysia: the Haval Jolion and Haval H6.
As a brief refresher, the Haval Jolion is a new subcompact from the Hebei-based company. It was launched in Thailand in late November, available only as a hybrid model. Thailand does not offer the non-hybrid version of the Jolion.
Earlier this year, more specifically back in February when GWM made their debut in Thailand, they made it clear that models manufactured at their Rayong plant will be exported throughout the South East Asia region, Malaysia and Indonesia included.
Furthermore, GWM’s public relations team has also confirmed that there are plans to introduce Haval models in Malaysia, Jolion and H6 included.
Can the Jolion sway you away from the Corolla Cross or HR-V?
It's going to be an uphill battle for the Haval Jolion in Malaysia, as it will have to fend off some well-established rivals such as the Toyota Corolla Cross and Honda HR-V. To a certain extent, the Jolion for Malaysia will also need to compete against the crowd-favourite Proton X50.
Now, in order to capture a meaningful market share (unlike the Haval H1 or H2), the Haval Jolion has to be priced competitively against the aforementioned rivals.
In Thailand where the model is currently on sale, prices of the Haval Jolion ranges between THB 879,000 (~RM 111k) to THB 999,000 (~RM 126k), in which prices of the top-spec Ultra variant overlaps the entry-level Honda HR-V e:HEV (THB 979,000, or ~RM 123k), but cheaper than the Corolla Cross Hybrid (THB 1,019,000 or ~RM 128k).
Back in Malaysia, it's not so straightforward: both the Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid and Honda HR-V are locally-assembled (CKD), allowing their respective manufacturers to offer competitive prices.
For the Jolion, recall that Haval Thailand mentioned that their Rayong plant will be the regional hub, exporting models assembled there around the ASEAN region. This is a tell-tale sign that the Malaysian-spec Jolion could be imported (CBU) from Thailand.
As part of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA, now known as ATIGA, ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement), Malaysia does not impose import tax for car manufactured in the ASEAN region, but (up to) 75 percent excise duty for SUVs still apply.
What powertrains are offered on the Haval Jolion?
The Thai-spec car gets a petrol-electric hybrid that does a combined output of 243 PS and 530 Nm. Alternatively, Haval also offers the same turbocharged engine but without the aid of an electric motor, which does 152 PS and 220 Nm.
On the Japanese camp, both the Malaysian-spec Toyota Corolla Cross and Honda HR-V receive a naturally-aspirated 1.8-litre petrol engine with identical torque figures.
In the Corolla Cross, its engine does 139 PS and 172 Nm, while the Honda does 142 PS and 172 Nm.
Can the Haval Jolion mark Haval's revival in Malaysia? After all, past efforts by Haval weren't exactly note-worthy, but the Jolion has all the makings to succeed, including a comprehensive ADAS suite, a strong-performing powertrain, and a slick infotainment system.
Product aside, the success of the Jolion in Malaysia hinges on Haval's distributors here. It remains to be seen if Go Auto will continue to represent the brand here, seeing that they have been rather quiet lately and has since disbanded their public relations team. Even Haval Malaysia's Facebook page has been left stagnant since August.