GWM (Great Wall Motors) is one of China’s fastest growing auto manufacturers, with 2021 sales reaching 1.3 million vehicles and a stated target of 4 million vehicles per year by 2025.
Although the 2021 inventory falls short of industry leaders like Toyota, the Chinese brand still recorded a year-over-year growth rate of 15.2%, which is quite impressive during the pandemic. global semiconductor.
Like other major Chinese automakers such as Geely and SAIC, GWM sells well-branded models.
These cars are already available in Australia, through models such as the GWM Ute, Haval H6 and Jolion that compete directly with SAIC-owned rival MG.
Next is Ora, a brand that caters to younger customers who can focus more on greener driving. This is the subject of our latest brand overview focusing on Chinese automakers.
GWM launched the Ora brand in August 2018, after nearly a decade of confirmed research and analysis on the ‘new energy vehicle’ market and how it can make a difference.
In Mandarin, the word ‘Ora’ is akin to ‘Euler’, and the brand is actually named after the famous Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler, on the basis that mathematics is the foundation of innovation. and technological progress.
In addition, GWM claims Ora is an acronym representing the brand pillars of ‘Open’, ‘Reliable’ and ‘Alternative’.
The Ora brand has been led since its inception by Ning Shuyong, managing director of GWM, with the first model being the 2018 Ora iQ. It is a luxury sedan that bears some styling similarities to the Polestar 2. , the iQ packs a 47kWh battery and a 120kW motor powering the front wheels, with a claimed range of 400km on the very optimistic NEDC cycle.
Perhaps in keeping with its focus on younger and more fashionable buyers, Ora’s current line-up is named after a variety of cats, although the iQ previously described remains the mainstay in the line. Ora’s Chinese domestic product.
Below it is the cheap Black Cat city car, which closely resembles the Honda e or Smart, and measures 3495mm in length. Black Cat utilizes a boxy design and wheels at each corner to maximize interior space.
The Black Cat doesn’t compromise one bit in terms of range and power in the name of affordability, has a 33kWh battery paired with a front motor that produces just 35kW, for a claimed top speed of around 100km/h and range vi for about 300km in that tolerant NEDC cycle.
While this powertrain is unlikely to be suitable for all markets, it is ideal for China’s congested cities and other developing regions where size and price are key factors. important factors to consider.
To this extent, Ora has also produced a larger and more premium car based on a similar powertrain, branded as the Ora White Cat.
Having a more upright stance and resembling boxy SUVs like the Kia Soul (now superseded), Toyota Rukus and Nissan Cube, the White Cat can be powered by a 34kWh or 38kWh battery, paired with a front engine 35kW or 45kW respectively.
Styled by GWM’s Yokohama-based Japanese design studio, White Cat introduces design elements such as the front honeycomb grille and one-piece glass tailgate with integrated taillights.
Arguably the most important model Ora sells is the Good Cat hatch, which is about the size of a Volkswagen Golf. This is the first car the company has designed for export and as such, seems like a significant step forward in terms of performance, range and safety.
In the Chinese domestic market, the Good Cat is available with a 48kWh or 59kWh battery pack and can be powered by a 105kW/210Nm or 126kW/250Nm front motor, with a range also varying from 400-500km (as mentioned already). above, these are optimistic NEDC period figures, with real word ranges possibly significantly less).
Ora says the 0-100 km/h acceleration is 8.5 seconds when equipped with the larger engine.
Ora claims the Good Cat is equipped with the latest Mobileye active safety and driver assistance systems, and features a Qualcomm Snapdragon smartphone processor to power the infotainment and digital instrument display.
After the subsidies were in place, in China, Good Cat started at 103,900 yuan (AUD21,400) and topped out at 160,900 yuan (AU$33,400).
Ora also previewed two concept cars that appear to be largely production-ready and are also cat-themed.
The first of these is the Lightning Cat, a four-door GT fastback in the style of the original Porsche Panamera, which Ora claims comes equipped with Level 3 autopilot, as well as luxury features like bucket seats separate rear passengers and a panoramic glass roof.
There are no details on the range or battery yet, other than claims that the car will be able to accelerate from 0-100 km/h in around 4.0 seconds.
Exaggerating the theme established by Good Cat, the appropriately named Punk Cat clearly mimics the classic design of the VW Beetle. While powertrain and performance details are uncertain, it’s possible that the Punk Cat will share the Good Cat’s engine and battery pack.
The Punk Cat name is yet to be confirmed for any future production versions, which could instead be called Ballet Cat.
Unlike some other Chinese electric vehicle startups that focus on ramping up domestic mass production, the GWM umbrella means Ora already has the expertise and scale to sell cars. international.
GWM has indeed confirmed that it will sell the Ora brand in Australia, with a market launch slated to take place in the second half of 2022. Given the brand’s current lineup, it’s very likely that Ora will launch the domestic market with a full-sized hatch small Good Cat.
It could be renamed Cat Oraas it has been in the UK, where deliveries are also expected in 2022 with prices starting from £25,000 ($44,690) when equipped with a 58kWh battery.