The Auto Expo is a great platform to connect with the masses and showcase products to India and the world. It is an ideal start for a new automotive brand making inroads in the domestic market to familiarise the company with the country. At the 2020 Auto Expo, automakers Morris Garages (MG) and Great Wall Motors (GWM) made their expo debut. Now, to be fair, MG has been in India for over six months now and already retails its products and is expanding operations. And despite that, MG did a great job of bringing its technology, products and heritage under one roof. But it was like entering into the unknown at GWM, and that's where we set our eyes. So, after much deliberation, the CNB Auto Expo Excellence Awards 2020 jury unanimously picked Great Wall Motors as the 'Best Brand Debut' at the expo this year.
Being a first time player at the Auto Expo always makes for big expectations from the manufacturer, and GWM delivered in spades. The carmaker showed up with not only a massive pavilion but something to grab everyone's attention. The showstoppers were, of course, the Haval Concept H and the Vision 2025 Concept. It is the former that promises a compact SUV for the Indian market that will compete with the Jeep Compass, MG Hector, Tata Harrier and the likes, while the Vision 2025 provided a glimpse into the future direction for the brand in design and technology.
Haval is the biggest manufacturer of utility vehicles in China and the automaker showcased its complete line-up right from the F5 and F7x compact SUVs to the mammoth-sized H9 SUV. At a time when SUVs are a rage globally, Haval's expansive display was a sight to behold. Moreover, these SUVs are intelligent and come with connected tech, so they are future-ready as well.
But for those looking for something more pint-sized in comparison, the GWM R1 electric hatchback looked promising. More so, considering the compact electric car offers a range of 351 km on a full charge, while the small footprint makes it just right as a city runabout. The GWM Q1 electric sedan also looked like something we'd like to see on Indian roads with the model promising a range of 401 km on a single charge.
Great Wall Motors will commence its India operations in 2021 and work has begun at the company's new Talegaon facility (formerly owned by General Motors), as the company plans to make in-roads with a number of products. GWM has a lot of work cut out for itself, but if its pavilion at the expo was anything to go by, the manufacturer will be bringing some exciting and futuristic products to the Indian market. And that's what impressed our jury that comprised Siddharth Vinayak Patankar, Editor - carandbike, Girish Karkera (former Editor of Top Gear magazine, Yogendra Pratap (Editor of Auto Today), Kingshuk Dutta and Ameya Naik from carandbike.