Great Wall Motor Company is a publicly listed auto manufacturer headquartered in Baoding, China. In 2019 it had US$13.9 billion in revenue and sales of over 940,000 vehicles. Great Wall Motor's ORA is an electric vehicle brand with the potential to significantly grow its global market share. Its production and sales are almost wholly in China with small numbers of sales in Russia.
The growth of ORA, GWM’s electric vehicle brand, has been strong over the 2014 to 2019 assessment period. This growth boosted the company’s share of sales from low-carbon vehicles from 0 percent in 2017 to 4 percent in 2019. This is partly due to the fact that the ORA R1 is one of the lowest cost electric passenger cars in the world. With high prices being one of the major reasons for slow uptake of electric vehicles, this is a bold and leading move by GWM.
No evidence was found of publicly available climate targets or a low-carbon transition plan for GWM. Although the company is promoting the ORA brand, it continues to rely on larger internal combustion engine vehicles. GWM needs to broaden the focus of its environmental compliance reporting to fully incorporate climate change and its impacts as well as set clear and ambitious targets. By doing so, the company can prepare for future low-carbon scenarios that may disrupt its existing business model.
Climate change is not mentioned in GWM’s financial or corporate social responsibility reports. GWM should perform scenario planning to assess future climate impacts on the company and subsequently use these findings to develop a strategy and plan which will enable it to mitigate these risks.
GWM has one new car-sharing business model, ORA Mobility, which is a potentially significant new area of business. The company plans to roll out 200,000 electric vehicles to 200 cities, though it is not clear what the timescale is for the release. However, relying solely on one new business model could pose a risk for the company.
GWM is awarded a trend score of +. If GWM were reassessed in the near term, its score would most likely improve due to the rapid growth of its share of sales from low-carbon vehicles. Given that battery electric vehicle sales are rapidly increasing and GWM has established the ORA brand, the company is well placed to capture a significant part of the low-cost battery electric vehicle market. However, GWM’s lack of transparency with regard to its strategy makes it difficult to assess what the company’s ultimate aims are concerning low-carbon vehicle production.
GWM does not have a publicly available low-carbon transition strategy or plan. However, the company indicates on its website that it is planning to expand and sell its low-cost ORA brand of electric vehicles outside its core market of China.
While traditionally GWM manufactures pickup trucks and SUVs, the company is rapidly growing its new ORA brand of electric vehicles. However, this is the only evidence of the company’s low-carbon transition given that the company has not disclosed any plans.
GWM continues to develop pickup trucks and SUVs. However, electric vehicle sales are slowing down in line with the general slowdown in automotive sales in China. GWM sold only 12,000 in the first nine months of 2020, compared to around 3,500 per month in 2019. Overall vehicle sales for 2020 are down compared to 2019 due to the economic slowdown, but there is scope for ORA sales to grow significantly with the right economic conditions.
Low-carbon vehicle sales increased from 0 to 4 percent between 2017 and 2019. However, by 2019 this had not been enough to reduce emissions to comply with the 2020 China emissions standards. It would have been interesting to see how high electric vehicle sales would have been without the impact of Covid-19 and whether GWM would have achieved China’s 2020 emissions standard.
China’s 2020 emissions standards are driving much of the electric vehicle sales growth in China. This is most likely the case for GWM given that it has yet to publish its own low-carbon transition plan.