Future Models - Great Wall 2013 C50
Auto makes Great Wall sedan chance for Oz
Automatic decision: Reports that Great Wall’s C50 sedan will receive an auto transmission makes it a stronger chance for Australian import.
Great Wall C50 sedan back on agenda for Australia with new CVT auto transmission
16 August 2012
CHINESE car-maker Great Wall is in talks with its Australian distributor Ateco Automotive about the viability of bringing the Holden Cruze-sized C50 sedan to this market, but it is unlikely to arrive before the end of next year.
The case for importing the C50 has become stronger with news it is about to receive an automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) option, according to China Car Times.
Great Wall’s smaller VX10 light hatch is still set to become the brand’s first passenger car in Australia and is expected to hit local showrooms before the end of this year, around 12 months later than initially planned.
Ateco’s Chinese brands spokesman Daniel Cotterill confirmed to GoAuto that the C50 is on the company’s radar for import.
“It is certainly something that has been discussed with Great Wall as to its viability for this market,” he said.
“I don’t think we will see the car here before the end of next year at the earliest.”
Like the similarly sized Geely Emgrand EC7 – which is being rolled out in some European countries including the UK and has been awarded a four-star Euro NCAP safety rating – the Great Wall C50 appears to have been designed with export markets in mind and can be specified with plenty of safety equipment.
From top: Great Wall VX10; Geely EC7.
The C50 is available with electronic stability control – now mandatory in Australia – plus side and curtain airbags, tyre pressure monitoring, anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, and doors that automatically unlock after a crash.
Its 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine produces 98kW and 188Nm and consumes 6.9 litres of fuel per 100 kilometres when paired with the standard five-speed manual transmission.
Holden’s Australian-built Cruze extracts 5kW more power and 12Nm more torque from its smaller 1.4-litre turbo engine while consuming 0.5L/100km less fuel.
However, the Cruze’s conventional automatic transmission makes it as thirsty as the manual C50 whereas a CVT can often reduce fuel consumption, meaning the Chinese car could potentially be more efficient in auto form.
Great Wall claims its 1.5-litre turbo is China’s first home-grown turbocharged small-displacement engine with performance “comparable to that of joint-venture brand”.
It also says the 98kW/188Nm outputs are minimums, suggesting there is scope to turn up the wick to suit different markets and models.
If the C50 is introduced in Australia, its 4650mm length could mean it slips into the mid-size segment as it is 21mm longer than the Cruze, which is in turn larger than the Skoda Octavia from the segment above.
According to Great Wall’s Chinese website, the C50 can be specified with a respectable array of equipment including automatic wipers, cruise control, reversing camera, parking sensors, Bluetooth, trip computer, leather upholstery and a multi-function steering wheel with height and reach adjustment.
China Car Times says the automatic C50 will debut at next month’s Chengdu motor show and is expected to cost 100,000 yuan ($A14,960) when is goes on sale in China.
Sydney-based Ateco previously intended to introduce the smaller VX10 (also known under several other names including Phenom and C10) in the fourth quarter of 2011 and then delayed it to the first quarter of this year, but it has yet to materialise.
Documents viewed by GoAuto suggest the VX10 was approved for Australian sale in October last year with a 70kW 1.5-litre petrol engine with a choice of a five-speed manual or CVT auto.
Mr Cotterill said Ateco still plans to bring the VX10 here, but its arrival has been pushed back.
“The plan is still to have it here by the end of this year,” he said. “I really cannot tell you more than that.”
The documents also show that, of the two front-end designs available for the VX10 in China, Ateco appears to have opted for the more distinctive, with a large grille that extends below the numberplate, decorated with bold diagonal chrome strakes.