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China’s JAC trucks set to get official tick in June

Get truckin': Chinese brand JAC will launch its HFC light truck, as well as other models, in Australia in the second half of this year.

Aussie JAC importer has queue for 100 trucks as new Chinese brand prepares to launch

3 May 2011

CHINESE vehicle importer WMC Group says it has pre-sold 100 of the 300 JAC Motors trucks it expects to receive from China’s second-largest truck-maker – Jianghuai Automobile Company – in the second half of this year as it launches the new brand in Australia.

And the Sydney-based importer has revealed to GoAuto that it will add a JAC large van in the mould of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter to the opening two-truck range from November, before extending into passenger cars from the fourth quarter of 2012.

WMC Group managing director Jason Pecotic said he expected the first JAC truck model – a 7.5-tonne vehicle powered by a 3.8-litre ISF Cummins engine – to get official ADR approval in June when a production version with the latest Euro 5-compliant engine arrives to be signed off by the Department of Transport and Road Safety (DOTARS).

Mr Pecotic said the first batch of five production trucks would then arrive in August, with mass-produced customer vehicles following from September.

As well, the first 4.5-tonne model with the same 3.8-litre diesel engine was expected to land in Australia about July.

Mr Pecotic said WMC’s JAC division – JAC Trucks Australia Pty Ltd – had committed to taking delivery of 300 vehicles in the first six months, with a target of 950 sales for 2012.

If achieved, those figures would place JAC in the top ten in the Australian truck industry in its first full year.

“We have actually sold the first 100,” Mr Pecotic said. “The problem we have got at the moment is not getting them here in time.

63 center imageFrom top: JAC Tractor heavy truck, production line, HFC line-up, Multivan.

“I have so much pressure on getting them here earlier, so we are fairly excited about the trucks getting here.” WMC – formerly known as White Motor Corporation – has been backed in the venture by Australia’s biggest dealer group, Automotive Holdings Group, which operates more than 100 dealerships across Australia and New Zealand.

WMC also imports and distributes Chinese-made Higer buses, also with Cummins engines and Allison transmissions.

JAC has had a prototype truck in Australia for a year preparing for local homologation – a process that moved a step closer with an inspection two weeks ago by DOTARS officials at the company’s Australian headquarters at Milperra, in Sydney’s south-west.

However, the final sign-off will have to wait until the arrival in June of a formal SUTI (single uniform type inspection) vehicle with the production-ready Euro 5 diesel engine, as the vehicle already in Australia has an earlier Euro 4 powertrain.

The company is just three weeks away from the showroom launch of the first JAC truck in New Zealand, where the first shipment of 48 JAC Euro 4-diesel trucks are making their way through customs.

In China, JAC makes a full range of trucks, from light delivery vans to heavy haulage prime movers, as well as buses, passenger cars and light commercial vehicles.

For Australia and New Zealand, WMC has specified all Cummins ISF diesel engines, which are assembled in a new Chinese factory built near Beijing as a joint venture between Cummins and major truck-maker Beiqi Foton.

Mr Pecotic said Cummins was making a batch of 50 Euro 5 engines for WMC’s first JAC production.

“Five will get here in August, and then we go into mass production from September onwards, which is when the Foton Cummins ISF plant goes into full production,” he said.

“At the moment, they are just making Euro 5 batches for us, so we ordered 60 Euro 5 engines for our buses (Higer), and so those buses are on the ship on their way to New Zealand, and we have ordered 50 more for buses and 50 for the JAC trucks.

“From September onwards, it will basically be as we need them according to stock and availability.”

Mr Pecotic revealed that the JAC van that WMC was planning to add to its range before Christmas would also be powered by a Foton Cummins ISF four-cylinder diesel engine, in 2.8-litre guise.

According to the Cummins website, the ISF2.8 is available in a choice of variants producing up to 120kW of power at 3600rpm, with peak torque of 360Nm.

The bigger ISF3.8 earmarked for the JAC trucks in Australia can produce up to 125kW at 2600rpm and 600Nm.

The JAC Multivan – a six-metre-long multi-purpose van – is sold in China in a variety of configurations, from standard work vehicle to mini-bus and ambulance layouts.

In Australia, it would take on the class-leading Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, on which it has clearly been modeled, as well as the Fiat Ducato, Volkswagen Crafter and Iveco Daily.

The Multivan was designed and developed at JAC’s Turin technical centre in Italy, with the interior designed at its Japanese technical centre in Tokyo.

For Australia, the van is scheduled to go into production in October for November delivery.

Mr Pecotic said JAC was planning to expand the truck range further in Australia, probably from about the middle of 2012.

“It depends on JAC,” he said. “There are plans for JAC to launch different models.

“I was at their conference last week, and Australia is obviously a lot further ahead than the majority of the countries they deal with.

“Some countries are obviously Euro 3 or Euro 4. So with Euro 5 technology, they are looking at giving us different product, probably June-July next year.”

Last year, JAC exported about 20,000 vehicles – mainly trucks – around the world, making it China’s biggest truck exporter, although it trails Foton on Chinese domestic sales.

Most of the exports went to developing countries in Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East and Russia.

It hopes its expansion into new markets such as Australia and New Zealand this year will help it to double its export volume this year.

Last year, JAC was China’s 10th biggest motor company, producing 460,000 trucks, cars and buses at its manufacturing base at Hefei in central China.

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