March 29 (Bloomberg) -- Great Wall Motor Co., which posted record profit last year, said it will set up Haval as a stand-alone sport-utility vehicle brand to enhance its image and better compete with marques such as Jeep and Land Rover.
Great Wall will separate the sales outlets for Haval from those of its other brands. The automaker, based in Baoding in China’s northern Hebei province, has sold more than 1 million Haval SUVs in over 100 countries as of March 25, the company said.
“We actually want to be the top SUV model in the world,” Chairman Wei Jianjun said in Beijing today. “We want to outperform other local brands and catch up with foreign brands in terms of ability to charge premiums.”
Great Wall will focus on developing the Haval H series SUV and higher end models after the spinoff and develop Haval into a “professional SUV brand,” Wei said.
SUVs were the fastest-growing vehicle segment in China last year, as consumers opted for more space than conventional sedans offer. That helped Great Wall boost net income last year by 66 percent and more than double its share price.
The separation of the networks will take two to three years, while the company plans to add the H9 SUV next year, Wei said.
Great Wall said this week it plans to invest 10 billion baht ($342 million) to open a factory in Thailand to produce 100,000 vehicles a year.
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