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Great Wall said to plan resuming top-end suv sales in April

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Great Wall Motor Co plans to resume sales of its most expensive sport utility vehicle in April, according to a person familiar with the matter, after twice halting sales last year to fix quality issues.

[BEIJING] Great Wall Motor Co plans to resume sales of its most expensive sport utility vehicle in April, according to a person familiar with the matter, after twice halting sales last year to fix quality issues. The shares gained.

China's biggest SUV maker will start test drives of its 200,000 yuan (S$43,660) H8 model this month, with the aim of restarting sales around the time of the Shanghai auto show, said the person, who asked not to be named because the information isn't public. Great Wall spokesman Xu Chengzhi didn't immediately return calls to his mobile phone and a text message seeking comment.

Great Wall's stock gained 4 per cent to HK$48.10 as of 10.28am in Hong Kong trading, heading for the biggest gain in three weeks. The benchmark Hang Seng Index slid 0.6 per cent.

The company's shares had their smallest gain last year since plunging in 2008 after the company repeatedly delayed the introduction of the vehicle, its first SUV priced in a segment that's dominated by foreign brands. The postponements undermined the credibility of the Chinese automaker's efforts to move beyond making cheap vehicles.

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The carmaker has suspended H8 sales since last May after customers reported hearing "knocking noises" when driving at high speeds. The company said at the time sales would only resume after the vehicle met a "premium standard."

The introduction of the H8 was first halted in January 2014 after the auto press panned the vehicle in test drives, leading to a 12 per cent slump in the company's shares the following day.

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