According to sources close to the matter, Great Wall Motor Co, China’s biggest SUV maker, decided to stop taking orders for its new Haval H8 SUV because it can’t catch up on deliveries.
The Baoding-beased automaker also suspended its share trading today, after yesterday in Hong Kong trading its shares went down 6% and in Shanghai another 4%, with the company citing the trading stoppage to be pending an announcement “in relation to inside information”.
“I can’t really recall any other automaker stop taking orders soon after they started so this is quite unusual,” said Han Weiqi, a Shanghai-based analyst with CSC International Holding Ltd. “If they can’t give a convincing reason, people may start to wonder whether there are other untold stories behind the suspension.”
“H8 is very important for Great Wall and it is seen as the next engine of the growth for the company given it is their first high-end model,” said Han at CSC International. “The importance works as a double-edged sword and it will be quite a blow to the company if the model for some reason fails to meet people’s expectations.”
The H8, which is the company’s flagship and most expensive model already had other problems, after investor concern arose because the SUV maker delayed the public launch as the model was universally hit by the bad reviews of the automotive press, following early test drives. Great Wall decided to postpone the launch by three months back in January, causing the company’s shares to steeply fall by 12% – their biggest drop since 2008.