Make / Model Search

Future models - Great Wall - V240

Great Wall vehicles here mid-year

Coming: The Great Wall Wingle will be known as the V240 when it goes on sale in Australia.

Australia’s first Chinese vehicles less than three months away as two utes confirmed

31 Mar 2009

THE first Chinese-branded vehicles to be made available in Australia will arrive inside three months in the form of not one but two four-door utilities from Great Wall Motor Company.

GoAuto has learned the SA220 and V240 dual-cabs will be followed by a light-sized hatchback known in China as the Florid, as well as a mid-sized SUV that goes by the Hover name there, by the end of this year.

After delaying the Great Wall brand’s scheduled Australian launch beyond last November due to currency exchange issues, Sydney-based new vehicle importer Ateco Automotive has now officially pushed the button on the plan and expects the first GWM utes to arrive here in June.

Ateco, which has sought the Australian distribution rights for a volume-selling automotive brand since it relinquished local Kia representation to the Korean brand’s parent company in 2004, also plans to import Chery vehicles from China this year (see separate story).

Managing director Ric Hull told GoAuto this week that a consistently stronger Australian dollar and 2009 price rises for many of the Chinese vehicles’ rivals, plus with the successful negotiation of lower prices from the GWM factory, had combined to make the deal viable.

Mr Hull confirmed the reduced prices from Great Wall would allow Ateco to maintain an opening launch price of $16,990 for business buyers of the 4x2-only Sailor dual-cab utility, for at least the rest of this year.

“They’ve been very, very supportive, and we’ve also covered currency to ensure that we’ve got a solid launch,” he said.

“The worst thing in the world we could do would be launch and then go back to the dealers we’ve just appointed and say woops, the dollar’s gone down and we’ve got to put the prices up.

“So we’re assured for a period of several months that we can maintain the launch (price) positioning.” Mr Hull said the federal government’s business vehicle investment allowance, which expires on June 30 and permits an extra 30 per cent of a company car’s purchase price to be depreciated on top of the regular 10 per cent allowance, added impetus to the release of the Great Wall utes this financial year.

“We haven’t set an absolute public launch date but obviously we’re keen to be in the marketplace ahead of the end of the 30 per cent investment allowance that is slated to be withdrawn on June 30,” he said.

“We’re going to have stock out with dealers so that they can write orders before that June 30 deadline.

“We’re reasonably confident with the supply lines. We’ll have stock with the dealers by June.”

61 center imageFrom top: GWM Sailor, Hover and Florid.

Mr Hull said the Sailor would easily be Australia’s most affordable dual-cab utility, priced at less than $17,000 for ABN holders, who were expected to comprise almost all buyers for both Great Wall utes.

To be known in Australia as the SA220 rather than the SA230 as previously advised, the Sailor will be available in 4x2 dual-cab petrol guise only.

Australia’s cheapest dual-cab utility is the diesel-only Mahindra Pik-Up ($23,000 as a cab-chassis or $25,990 with a tray), followed by SsangYong’s diesel-only Sports Tradie at $24,990, with most single-cab petrol utes priced from just under $20,000.

Mr Hull said the larger, newer Wingle 4x2 utility, which will carry the V240 name here, will be priced from the low $20,000 mark, with a 4x4 version to carry a price premium. As with the SA220, Great Wall’s V-Series ute will be priced about five per cent higher for non-business purchasers.

“Virtually every buyer of this product will be an ABN holder so it’s not a trick,” said Mr Hull.

Unlike the SA220, the V240 will come standard with an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and twin front airbags. Both models will feature air-conditioning, power steering, power windows, alloy wheels, remote central locking, a CD/MP3 sound system and even leather trim as standard.

The K2-series V240 will, as its alpha-numeric name suggests, be powered by an EU4 emissions-compliant 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine that displaces 2378cc and delivers 93kW at 5250rpm, mated exclusively to a five-speed automatic transmission.

Both the 4x2 and 4x4 versions of the one-tonne V240 workhorse measure 5040mm long, 1800mm wide and 1730mm high, and offer 309mm of ground clearance. The V-Series’ wheelbase is 3050mm, its front and rear wheel tracks are a respective 1515 and 1525mm and kerb weights are 1660kg for the 4x2 and 1780kg for the 4x4.

The V240 will also offer 16x7.0-inch wheels with 235/70 R16 tyres, 280mm vented front brake discs, 295mm rear brake drums, power windows and the option of front and rear foglights.

As we revealed previously, Great Wall’s other four-door twin-cab five-seater petrol ute, the SA220, will be powered by an EU3 emissions-compliant 2.2-litre petrol four offering 78kW/190Nm and also mated only to a five-speed manual gearbox.

The 2WD-only SA220 will therefore not only be cheaper than the V240, but also less powerful, 120mm longer overall, 25mm shorter in its wheelbase, 100mm narrower and 50mm lower – despite an extra 100m of ground clearance. ABS and airbags will be unavailable on the SA220, which will also feature smaller front brakes and 15-inch wheels.

An advanced 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine co-developed with Bosch is already available in China and will also eventually become available here in both the Sailor and Wingle.

“It’s definitely in the wind – a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel – and we’ve love to have it, but I don’t have timing on it,” said Mr Hull.

As previous reported, Ateco has established a national retail network of about 60 Great Wall dealers, who hope to sell around 300 Great Wall vehicles a month, or between 3000 and 4000 petrol-only utes a year.

“We’re setting fairly modest aspirations for it (Great Wall),” said Mr Hull. “It’s manual-transmission only and there’s no diesels at this stage, so based on that line-up we think we’re good for around 300 a month.

“With that range, we’re hopeful of something between 3000 and 4000 for everything.” However, Mr Hull said that beyond the SA220 and V240 utes, both of which have now received ADR certification after the Wingle’s approval last week, Ateco plans to launch both Great Wall’s Florid hatch and Hover SUV by the end of 2009.

“We are very, very well advanced with the ADR approvals of a 1.5-litre five-door hatchback, while a small 4x4 powered by the same 2.4 from the V-Series will also come this year,” said Mr Hull.

“They rejoice in the names of Florid and Hover in the Chinese market but obviously we will give them different marketing names as we have with the others.” Mr Hull said the Peri city-car, which was launched in China in March 2008 as Great Wall’s first sedan – and attracted a lawsuit from Fiat for looking too much like its Panda mini-car – had effectively been superseded for Australia by Great Wall, but was one of a range of vehicles that could also be sold here.

“We’re still keeping our options open for the Peri, but the factory seems to be more keen to get these other two into the market. These are two models that we’d hope to have in the market by the end of the year. But yes, there’s more coming, certainly,” he said.

While the five-door Florid city hatch entered production in China in October 2008, the Hover dates back to 2006 when it became the first Chinese vehicle to be exported to Europe in significant numbers.

Based on the Toyota 4Runner chassis and using an exterior derived from the 2002 Isuzu Axiom, the Hover rides on a 2700mm wheelbase and measures 4620mm long, 1800mm wide and 1710mm high, making it almost as long but narrower than a Toyota Kluger. The Great Wall Hover’s kerb weight is 1720kg.

In China it is available with both a 2.8-litre diesel engine as well as the Mitsubishi-sourced 4G64 2.4-litre engine, both mated solely to a five-speed manual transmission.

Great Wall is China’s largest maker and exporter of SUVs and commercial vehicles, having increased sales by 10 per cent to 125,000 in 2008, when it increased the number of its Chinese dealers to 550 – up 25 per cent on the 2007 figure.

It sold a record 15,000 vehicles in January this year, including 3600 examples of the new Florid and 5600 versions of the Hover SUV flagship. The company hopes to boost sales by 60 per cent to 200,000 vehicles by 2011, including 80,000 sedans – an 800 per cent increase on 2008, when it sold just 10,000 sedans alongside 60,000 SUVs and 55,000 utes.

Great Wall plans to launch a total of 12 new models in 2009, including four sedans starting with the 1.5-litre Coolbear in March and the 1.3 and 1.5-litre Cross in May. A new 1.3 and 1.5-litre sedan, codenamed CH031, will follow in October.

Five new SUVs for China this year will include a ‘TK’ SUV with 2.0, 2.4 and 2.5-litre engines in April, a new mini-SUV in May, a redesigned medium SUV codenamed K5 and powered by 2.0, 2.4 and 2.5-litre engine in June, and new 1.5-litre ‘X’ and ‘Y’ SUVs in July and September respectively.

Three new Great Wall utes are also expected to hit the showrooms in the first half this year, including a number of new Wingle variants and a new 2.4-litre pick-up in June.

What's coming from Great Wall
SA220 4x2 dual-cab ute June
V240 4x2/4x4 dual-cab ute June
Florid light hatch late 2009
Hover medium SUV late 2009

Read more:

Exclusive: China's Great Wall to beat Chery here

Peking plucked!

Chinese whispers

China a year away

Beijing motor show: China beckons

Beijing show: Chery to get Faira

Global cars on agenda for Beijing show

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram

Great Wall models

Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here