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China’s Great Wall to expand ute line up

Expansion: Great Wall's V240 ute will be expanded with a single-cab version, plus diesel power next year.

Diesel, single-cab and safety improvements promised for Great Wall’s V240 ute

30 Nov 2009

AUSTRALIA’S first Chinese brand is set to significantly broaden its attack on the one-tonne ute market next year with a diesel engine and single-cab variant.

Great Wall Motors will release a facelifted version of its V240 crew cab ute in the first quarter of next year and will take the opportunity to expand the line-up to attract new buyer types.

The diesel engine will be made available in the second half of the year and is tipped to significantly boost sales of the ute, which is already selling better than expected.

New single-cab and cab-chassis variants should give Great Wall better access to the workhorse market. Currently, the V240 is only available as a crew cab.

The company’s Australian distributor, Ateco Automotive, said the facelifted V240 model had also been developed with the aim of improving the vehicle’s crash worthiness.

GoAuto understands Great Wall is making a range of structural changes to improve the safety of the V240 ute after it scored just two stars when by the ANCAP crash test safety body in September.

“Great Wall is following through and seeking to improve its ANCAP rating,” said Ateco spokesman Daniel Cotterill.

“They are working very hard to make the vehicle perform better in that regard.”

61 center image From top: Great Wall X240 SUV, Great Wall SA220.

The ute upgrade is expected to include pre-tensioning seatbelts – a feature that tightens the belts in the event of a crash – but no further safety features.

The V240 already has ABS and dual front airbags.

Electronic stability control will not be introduced at the time of the facelift. Great Wall Motors has said it plans to introduce ESC on its vehicles before it becomes mandatory on all new cars from January 1, 2011.

Great Wall’s other ute, the SA220 crew cab, also scored just two stars in the September ANCAP test.

Older than the V240, it is subsequently cheaper. It is not available with anti-skid brakes or a driver or passenger airbag and there are no plans to offer more safety gear or improve its crash performance.

The current SA220 and V240 are both only available with petrol engines. The SA220 features an older Chinese 2.2-litre petrol four-cylinder with just 78kW and 190Nm, while the V240 runs a more modern Mitsubishi-sourced 2.4-litre petrol unit with 100kW and 200Nm.

The addition of the diesel should make the V240 a more attractive vehicle for customers wishing to carry or tow heavy loads.

Ateco is yet to confirm the details of the diesel engine that will be offered with the V-series ute.

Options include a Bosch-developed 2.8-litre and 2.0-litre diesels which was shown at the 2008 Beijing motor show.

Great Wall Motors sales stand at 1020 to the end of October, according to VFACTS.

The V240 is a clear top seller with 801 sales, with 439 of those 4x4 variants. Great Wall has sold 201 SA220s and 18 of its just-introduced X240 model.

While Ateco has just launched the X240 SUV, the plans for other passenger models are unclear.

The Florid small hatch originally was planned for launch this year, but that was delayed.

Ateco now says that it will launch a Great Wall small car in the second half of next year, but it will not say if this is the Florid hatch or another vehicle.

Great Wall last week achieved European Whole of Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA) from the UK based Vehicle Certification Agency for four vehicles, including the V240 ute, X240 SUV, Florid hatch and the Coolbear tallboy hatch that looks like a Toyota-made Scion xB.

Ateco has not ruled out bringing the striking Coolbear to Australia, but said it was unlikely in the short term.

The distribution company, which imports a wide range of brands from Citroen to Ferrari, is still committed to introducing a second Chinese brand, Chery, to Australia, despite a delay.

Chery was supposed to be introduced to Australia early this year, but is yet to arrive, and Ateco is yet to lock in a launch date.

“We are currently in discussions,” said Mr Cotterill.

He said it was likely a Chery vehicle would go on sale at some stage during 2010, but he would would not be drawn on a possible launch date or which models would be first into showrooms.

The original Chery launch plan involved two small cars, the A1 hatch and A5 sedan, as well as the Tiggo3 compact SUV, but the A5 is now an unlikely starter.

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