China’s biggest SUV and pick-up manufacturer Great Wall Motors announced on March 21 that it will launch its flagship off-road vehicle, the TANK series, as a stand-alone brand.
The company will separate TANK from its premium brand WEY at the 19th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition in April, according to Wei Jianjun, chairman of the Baoding-based carmaker.
TANK 300, which debuted in July 2020 and went on sale last December, is the first model to be built on the “TANK·WEY” platform. It is powered by a two-liter turbo-charged petrol engine, with an output of 167 kW and capable of accelerating the vehicle to 100 kmh in ten seconds.
TANK 300 is available in three distinct versions, with the standard model priced at 175,800 yuan ($27,009) and the premium trim package priced at 213,800 yuan ($32,847). TANK’s remarkable performance and attractive price have allowed it to amass it a considerable following among Chinese younger white-collar workers. Due to a lack of supply, domestic customers are now forced to place a pre-order at a dealership in order to purchase the off-roader.
Great Wall Motors has submitted trademark registration for another two TANK models – the TANK 600 and the TANK 900. The TANK 600 is expected to begin production in October 2021.
Great Wall’s move is consistent with its long-term development strategy, which could be encapsulated by a Chinese proverb: “having more children makes it easier to fight”.
Eight years ago, the company spun off its budget SUV series HAVAL into a separate brand, which enjoyed a successful run as the hottest-selling Chinese SUV brand for 11 straight months in 2020. “Many customers know HAVAL, while they don’t know Great Wall Motors,” said Li Ruifeng, vice-president of Great Wall Motors. “When a product is strong enough, people will neglect its parent company.”
Apart from separating certain vehicle models, Great Wall Motors spins off its manufacturers of car parts as independent companies as well, which has strengthened the auto empire’s competitive edge.
Founded in 1984, the Hong Kong and Shanghai-listed automaker possesses the following four brands: GWM pickup, HAVAL, WEY and the affordable electric brand ORA. Its products span a range of vehicle categories including SUV, passenger car and pickup. With over 70 holding subsidiaries, its assets had reached 111.8 billion yuan ($17.18 billion) by the end of 2018.
The company is seeking to create a new stand-alone brand for electric and smart vehicles, which will be priced higher than existing products, Reuters reported. In 2020, Great Wall Motors sold more than a million vehicles.