Great Wall Motors comeback
The impasse over distribution of Great Wall Motors vehicles in Australia, including the Chinese budget brand’s trade-oriented light commercial vehicles, has ended, with a new factory-backed operation taking over from independent importer Ateco Automotive and confirming that a new-generation utility is on its way.
Due for release in the final quarter of this year, the new ute is still under wraps from a local specification point of view, however the vehicle – to be known as the Steed here – has received regulatory approval for Australian sales and all indications are that it will be based on the Wingle 6 already available in overseas markets.
The newly formed local distributor, Great Wall Motors Australia (GWMA), has issued photographs of the new ute and confirmed that the line-up will be headed by a 4×4 turbo-diesel variant matched to a six-speed manual transmission, Borg-Warner ‘torque-on-demand’ four-wheel-drive system and Eaton-sourced rear differential lock.
This indicates that an automatic transmission may not be available from launch. GWMA has, however, promised a high level of specification, including in terms of safety equipment, with electronic stability control – understood to be a comprehensive Bosch-developed system – and six airbags to be fitted standard.
Only a dual cab body style will be offered at launch, in three powertrain/driveline combinations: 4×2 petrol and 4×2 and 4×4 diesel.
Other details are still to be provided, but Great Wall Motors’ global website shows that the driving force behind the new-generation Wingle is a ‘GW4D20’ 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine producing 105kW of power at 4000rpm and 305Nm of torque from 1800-2800rpm, driving through a six-speed manual transmission.
The Wingle continues to use a conventional ladder-frame chassis with independent double-wishbone-type front suspension up front and a rigid axle with leaf springs at the rear. Front disc brakes and rear drums are employed, aided by ABS brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist electronics.
Increasingly common equipment such as reversing camera, rear parking sensors, tyre pressure monitoring system, auto-dipping rear-view mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and six-way electrically adjustable driver’s seat are also available, depending on the model variant.
While improvements in areas such as quality and refinement are still to be put to the test, there is no doubt that with the higher-grade safety equipment and more premium interior fit-out, Great Wall will have a suitable model with which to mount a fresh attack on the Australian marketplace.
GWMA has also pledged to continue to “deliver solutions to any customer and dealer issues” meaning that it is working to ensure it maintains a broad dealer network and retains as many past and present V-series ute owners, many of whom are tradies, as possible.