Great Wall pick-up with hybrid engine and rear diff lock by 2020
The popularity of American pick-up trucks in China will see Great Wall introduce its own by 2020, and export to Australia seems likely.
GREAT WALL MOTORS has announced its plan to introduce a new dual-cab utility to the Chinese market around the end of 2019 to 2020, with hopes it will also reach Australia. The surprise teaser was announced during a product presentation this week.
The Chinese manufacturer presented media with a first look sketch but we were strictly forbidden to photograph the slide. Vaguely speaking, the teaser sketch features front-end styling that appears like a cross-between the Hyundai Kona and Ford Ranger, with what appeared as a full wrap around glasshouse. Needless to say the concept was much more contemporary and lifestyle-oriented than current Great Wall designs.
Currently Haval, an offshoot SUV brand of Great Wall, is preparing to launch its updated H9 and new seven-seat SUV the H7. If the improved quality of the Haval H7 and ride quality of the locally tuned H9 we previewed this week is any indication of the company’s potential, the large utility might be a viable competitor.
“What we’re really excited about from a light commercial point of view is an all new ute sometime the end of 2019 start of 2020,” said Andrew Ellis, PR and product specialist at GWM.
The dual-cab ute will be larger than the company’s Great Wall Steed utility and positioned as an all-purpose dual-cab for both work and play. On the list of requests from the Australian contingent to head office in Beijing is a 3000kg towing capacity and an 8-speed auto: “It’s an all-new platform and we’ve got our wish list – we want three ton towing, we want all the safety measures, we want 4×4, we want an 8-speed auto, and so far they haven’t said no to us,” said Ellis.
“That’s the first sketch we’ve seen. So it’s aggressive, it’s a bigger (than the steed – ranger size), all purpose, aggressive dual-cab ute.”
The move to a large size dual-cab has come about after changes to local law in China allowed utes and diesels on the road, and are proving very popular.
“Given what they are telling us, big seems to be working in China… big seems to be working because the sales of the American imports are going really well,” said Ellis.
“There’s been a change in China where utes and diesel utes are now legal and so what we’re seeing is American machines like F-Series trucks, Silverado and Rams are now hugely popular in China. So the opportunity is there.”
And the opportunity is also here. Speaking with Haval and GWM Australia Director, Koma Li, PM learned that the Australian market is under serious consideration to receive the new pickup which would compliment a strong lineup of new-platform Haval SUVs, due around the same time. The biggest challenge, however, might be convincing buyers that the drivetrain that might not see a diesel option is good enough. A 2.0-litre diesel turbo is available in the H9 in China, but it’s not clear if it will make it to Australia.
The new pick-up’s engine will most probably be a plug-in electric hybrid four-cylinder turbo petrol, which will also feature in Haval’s updated 2020 SUV range (some of which will be making it to the Australian market). It will be mated to a variable ratio transfer case that will be tailored to different drive modes (such as rock crawl, mud and sand), with the top spec model receiving up to 6 different terrain and driving modes. The rear differential will be lockable.
It hasn’t been confirmed if the ute will come to Australia but GWM are pushing for it. Li says the company’s management in China have been very supportive of Haval and GWM in Australia, and will ensure the company succeeds here.