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Great Wall Motors has let the cat out of the bag, after confirming that it will launch the long-rumoured Ora electric sub-brand in Australia in 2022.
The confirmation came direct from Great Wall Motors Australia’s parent company in a release highlighting the strengths of the Australian and New Zealand markets.
In it, GWM said the first electric model would soon hit Australia.
“Under the overwhelming wave of electrification, as one of the important areas of Great Wall Motor's global strategic map, the Australian market has laid out the line-up of electrified products prospectively, and started the ‘fully charged’ journey of electrification,” the release read.
A GWM Australia spokesperson said the company was not in a position to confirm anything officially at this stage as they are still working through plans with head office, but an announcement would be made soon.
However, CarsGuide understands that the all-electric Ora brand will launch in Australia in 2022, with the Good Cat expected to be the first model to go on sale.
Ora has already confirmed plans to launch the Ora Good Cat in Europe as the Ora Cat in 2022, following the commencement of sales in Thailand a couple of months ago. In its home market China, it is called the Ora Haomao.
The Good Cat is being homologated for right-hand drive markets and will be the first of a range of models to eventually fall under the Ora umbrella in Australia.
While GWM Australia is yet to confirm Ora, it’s understood the Good Cat will, silently, roll into local showrooms mid-2022.
The retro-looking Good Cat rides on GWM’s curiously named LEMON platform and employs a 126kW/250Nm powertrain driving the front wheels and a 63kWh battery. The expected driving range is up to 400 kilometres on the WLTP standard, which is longer than the entry versions of the Nissan Leaf (315km) and Hyundai Ioniq Electric (373km).
It’s unclear what other Ora models are on the cards for Australia, but in China the brand also offers the small Black Cat and White Cat models, as well as the jacked-up iQ, while recent concepts that are likely to make it to production include the Big Cat SUV and the Volkswagen Beetle-copying Punk Cat.
It’s also unclear if Ora models will be sold in GWM/Haval dealerships in Australia, or if the company will opt for an online sales strategy.
When Ora launches the Good Cat, it could help lower the price of EVs in Australia, or potentially even come in as the most affordable EV in Australia.
Other Chinese brands with aggressive EV plans include MG Motor, which already sells the ZS EV SUV, and BYD which currently has the cheapest EV available in Australia with the e6 from $39,999, plus on-road costs, albeit in ridiculously low volumes.
Another tasty morsel from the GWM global release is confirmation of the Haval Jolion hybrid for Australia. The small SUV is already available Down Under with a 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine priced from $26,490 to 31,990 drive-away.
The hybrid will help Haval compete with other petrol-electric small SUVs like the Toyota C-HR, Kia Niro, Subaru XV, Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and the next-generation Nissan Qashqai and Honda HR-V, both due in 2022.
The Jolion hybrid uses the same 1.5-litre engine paired with an electric motor delivering 140kW/375Nm and has a fuel use figure of 4.2 litres per 100km.
It is expected to land in the first half of 2022, after the hybrid version of the H6 medium SUV.