The JOLION Experience: Love at first touch

Since its local introduction in 2021, the HAVAL JOLION SUV has become the best-selling model in the GWM range and has played a major role in HAVAL Motors South Africa (HMSA) becoming the first Chinese automaker to regularly feature in the top ten manufacturers on the monthly vehicle sales charts.

The popularity of JOLION has been reaffirmed with its selection as a finalist in two categories of the 2023 Consumer Awards (CarsAwards or #CarsAwards), which recognises the best purchasing propositions of the South African new-vehicle market – the JOLION 1.5T Premium as a finalist in the Entry-Level Crossover (R300 000 to R400 000) category, and the JOLION S Super Luxury as a finalist in the Compact Family Car (R400 000 to R500 000) category.

The JOLION, the brainchild of many hours of this relentless research and development, was also the winner of the Manufacturing Award in the 2022 naamsa Accelerator Awards as the Top Imported Newcomer Car of the Year.

The name JOLION means “first love” and was chosen to reflect the affinity customers have for this young beauty. Locally, the JOLION has proven a hit with women buyers and in recognition of this, HMSA recently hosted a JOLION Experience Day at the Gerotek proving grounds for female members of the South African motoring media.

Says Bianca van Staden, Head of Marketing, Brand and Public Relations for HMSA: “Research data by Lightstone released in Women’s Month (August) demonstrates the increasingly important role women are playing in South Africa’s economy.  Also, when it comes to vehicle design, women are opting for Crossover/SUVs like the JOLION and the most popular price bracket for women according to the data is in the R300 000 range, exactly where the JOLION is positioned,” says van Staden.

“The JOLION Experience gave us an exciting opportunity to engage with female journalists and influencers to celebrate Women's Month and to welcome spring, the season of new beginnings and budding first love. It was also the first time the media had the opportunity to test drive the full range of JOLION models back-to-back.

“True to the customer centric spirit of GWM to understand the real needs of buyers in South Africa and build a mental recognition in the hearts of users, we have also used the event to share our love and care for the less fortunate by making a substantial donation to the Cradle of Hope, a recognised independent social upliftment and community development organisation assisting women and children who find themselves in desperate need.”

The JOLION range consists of five variants with City, Luxury, Premium and Super Luxury specification - each offering equal measures of styling superiority and high levels of specification. The range was extended last year with the arrival of the sporty, stylish, and savvy HAVAL JOLION S that sets itself apart from the others with a new front grille, black finishes, and a new-generation 1.5-litre petrol turbo engine delivering 130KW and 270Nm of torque.

The JOLION S was followed by the JOLION HEV compact SUV model, combining performance and efficiency in an attractive package. The JOLION HEV features a 1.5-litre hybrid drivetrain that combines a petrol engine with an electric motor. A Dedicated Hybrid Transmission (DHT) combines the outputs of the internal combustion engine and the hybrid system, resulting in a total power output of 140kW and 375Nm.

The JOLION HEV, differentiated from the rest of the range by LED Premium Vision headlights and fog lights that feature blue accents, a standout diamond front grille, a redesigned front bumper, silver roof rails, flared rear brake lights, a sporty rear diffuser, dual vent rear spoilers and 17 or 18-inch sports alloy wheels, depending on the specification grade.

“The HEV model extends our strategy in moving towards green and sustainable energy with its Improved fuel efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions and more eco-friendly nature,” says Van Staden. “The JOLION HEV also require less maintenance, contributing to lower cost of ownership.”

The media representatives were impressed by the features available in the JOLION range, including the Rotary Dial shifter in Auto models, the electronic parking brake, the wireless charging station, the Head-Up Display and Virtual Instrument Cluster, the floating 12.3” infotainment and smart touch panel with Apple CarPlay compatibility.

They also commented favourably on the high level of technology packed into the SUV, the attention to detail inside the cabin and the soft touch materials, and praised the superb styling, as well as GWM’s aftersales support JOLION customers in Mzansi have come to love. Having experienced the handling, power, performance, and specific benefits of each JOLION derivative on the Gerotek high-speed straight, the handling track and on the skidpan, it was clearly love at first touch.