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Future models - Great Wall - V240

Great Wall set for expansion ‘within months’

First up: The Chinese-made Great Wall V240 is expected to get a 2.0-litre turbo diesel, possibly by late this year.

Chinese ute range to get 2.0-litre diesel – and a Great Wall SUV stablemate

25 Jun 2009

AUSTRALIA’S first made-in-China motor brand, Great Wall Motors, will plug a major gap in its fledgling workhorse range within months when it introduces a new 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine variant alongside the petrol-powered dual-cab utilities that launched the brand in Australia and New Zealand this week.

Distributor Ateco Automotive previously acknowledged that a 2.8-litre four-cylinder diesel developed with Bosch was on the wishlist for at least one of the two Great Wall utes, the SA220 and V240, which broke the ice for the Chinese car-maker in local showrooms this week.

But Ateco managing director Ric Hull told GoAuto today that a 2.0-litre diesel would beat the 2.8-litre diesel on to the Australia market, possibly as early as late this year.

He also confirmed that an automatic transmission – currently unavailable in either the SA220 or V240 – was under development and due to arrive next year as an option on the Mitsubishi-based 2.4-litre engine.

Responding to another apparent shortfall – the lack of safety equipment on the entry-level $19,990 SA220 – Mr Hull said the model would not gain airbags, ABS brakes or a high-mounted stop-light any time soon, as these features were not available on the vehicle from the factory.

61 center imageFrom top: Florid, Hover H5 and Ateco managing director Ric Hull.

Mr Hull said the most likely arrival date for the 2.0-litre diesel would be the first quarter of next year, “but it might be before the end of this year”.

“A 2.8 is also being discussed, but the first one I think we are going to see is a 2.0-litre turbo,” he said.

According to the Great Wall Chinese website, the only diesel currently available in the utes – known there as the Wingle and Sailor – is the 70kW/225Nm 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel in the Wingle (V240).

However, Great Wall has indicated that its Hover H5 SUV – shown as a concept at this year’s Shanghai motor show – would get a 2.0-litre diesel option, as would the Cowry MPV for the Chinese market.

Both of those vehicles were scheduled to go into production this month.

It is not clear if the 2.0-litre engine is the same as an advanced 110kW/310Nm 2.0-litre diesel displayed at the Shanghai show last year.

Mr Hull said a diesel option would be an added boost to Great Wall’s Australian sales aspirations, which had been set at 300 units a month before this week’s launch.

“All the indications at the moment are that we seem to be under-calling the volume,” he said.

“We have always been talking in terms of about 300 a month, but dealers are already clamouring for more stock that we brought in, which is a great sign.” Mr Hull defended the two-model dual-cab launch strategy, saying the price differential and specification would be sufficient to separate the models, which are also built on different platforms.

“We think the SA-series will compete primarily in the used-vehicle market, whereas the V-series starts at $23,990,” he said. “That $3000 gap is significant.” Mr Hull confirmed an as-yet-unnamed SUV – based on the Chinese Hover – was expected to arrive by the end of the year, armed with the same 100kW 2.4-litre petrol four-cylinder engine as the V240.

However, he indicated that the planned 1.5-litre light car – based on the Chinese Florid – was a little less certain to arrive in the same timeframe.

“That, too, could be before the end of this year,” he said. “We may have some other issues we may have to resolve first.” Mr Hull said Ateco would like to see more safety features available on the SA220, but it probably would not happen.

“It wasn’t a conscious decision on our part to delete or not take them as an option, let’s put it that way,” he said.

“They are just not available on the vehicle. We would like to see them, of course, but I am not sure that will be possible.

“That car will compete primarily in the used-car market, and none of its competitors would have those items either.” Mr Hull ruled out the possibility of Ateco importing an even cheaper version of the SA220 by stripping out features such as leather and alloy wheels.

“Of course we looked at that, but, to be honest, we don’t pay a huge premium to get things like leather and alloy wheels, and our philosophy is that the people who drive these vehicles probably spend more time in them than you or I in our passenger cars, so why shouldn’t they have the comfort items they might expect in a passenger car.”

Read more:

Chinese invasion begins – at $19,990

Shanghai show: Great Wall goes for gold

Great Wall vehicles here mid-year

Exclusive: China's Great Wall to beat Chery here

First look: Great Wall’s 2009 wares

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