A year ago, investors loved Great Wall Motor Co.’s cheap SUVs. The stock surged to records, margins fattened beyond those of any automaker and the chairman even talked about outselling Jeep. Then it tried to go upscale.
Today, its ambitions to be China’s first challenger to major foreign car brands have hit a snag. Sales of the new Haval H8, Great Wall’s first sport utility vehicle priced in the 200,000 yuan ($32,100) plus segment dominated by the likes of Volkswagen AG’s Tiguan and Ford Motor Co.’s Kuga, were suspended indefinitely last week because of quality concerns, the vehicle’s second delay this year.