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Chinese Ford F150 clone ‘not for Australia’

Not here: This Ford lookalike from Chinese manufacturer JAC Motors is not the ute destined for Australia.

Importer WMC confirms that spy-shot pick-up is not the JAC ute bound for the West

20 Feb 2012

FORD Australia’s legal department can rest easy – the Chinese-built JAC Motors ute that appears in widely circulated internet spy shots to closely resemble Ford’s F150 pick up is not bound for Australia.

Instead, JAC (Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co) has a different variant under development expressly for western markets, including Australia where the vehicle is due to land in about the middle of next year.

The Aussie-bound product is believed to be a new generation of the JAC Reni, a conventional one-tonner-sized body-on-frame ute currently built on an Isuzu D-Max frame and sold in China as a rival for the likes of the Great Wall V240.

America’s automotive reporters and bloggers went into overdrive earlier this month when Chinese website www.carnewschina.com carried spy pictures of a JAC-badged ute called 4R3, likening it to Ford’s iconic pick-up that happens to be the Blue Oval’s best-selling vehicle.

The Detroit News later quoted Ford Motor Company spokesman Mike Irvine as saying the company was investigating the vehicle to decide what its next steps might be.

“We don’t know if it would be legal action,” he was quoted as saying. “We’re just investigating our next steps.”

The JAC 4R3 reportedly will be unveiled at the Beijing motor show in April, and is allegedly destined for export to some developing regions such as Africa and South America, where it will be sold alongside JAC trucks and vans.

But JAC importer for Australia and New Zealand, WMC Group, has told GoAuto that JAC had assured it that the vehicle in the spy shots was not meant for markets such as Australia.

WMC managing director Jason Pecotic said: “It is not coming (to Australia). There is nothing on the table regarding right-hand drive (in that pick-up) at this stage, and I haven’t expressed an interest in it.”

Instead, “another spec” was under development for Australia and other western destinations, Mr Pecotic said.

As GoAuto reported in December, the development of the new JAC ute was locked in personally by JAC chairman Zuo Yan’an on a visit to Australia last year, after WMC knocked back Chinese rival Foton’s Tunland ute on cost grounds.

The ute – to be armed with a 2.8-litre Cummins diesel – will be offered in double-cab and single cab guises with 4x4 and 4x2 powertrains, and will be followed onto the Australian market by two JAC vans – Hyundai iLoad-style M2 and larger Mercedes-Benz Sprinter-style Sunray.

JAC is gearing up to show off its light-duty truck range at the Melbourne truck show at the Melbourne Showgrounds from March 15.

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