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China’s Joylong bound for Oz

Chinese commercial: The Joylong van is set to go on-sale in Australia, possibly as soon as November this year.

Van specialist Joylong set to become Chinese brand eight in Australia

Joylong logo13 Sep 2011

By RON HAMMERTON

ANOTHER Chinese motor vehicle brand is set to be launched in Australia, with van specialist Joylong bringing the tally of confirmed starters to eight.

The first Joylong product – an as-yet-unnamed high-roof van powered by a Euro 5-compliant Cummins diesel engine – is expected to be launched on the Australian market as early as November.

Imported by Sydney-based WMC Group, it will be sold through the same 21-dealership channel as Chinese-made Higer buses, which are also imported by WMC.

The van is thought to be the same passenger van shown to journalists as the rebadged Higer P1 in China last year, but it appears Joylong – which supplied the Higer vehicle – now will export it to Australia with its own badges.

Joylong – full name Jiangsu Joylong Automobile Co Ltd – becomes WMC’s fourth Chinese brand, alongside JAC, Foton light commercials and Higer buses.

Other brands either slated for launch or already rolling in from the world’s biggest automotive market are Great Wall Motors and Chery – both imported by Ateco Automotive – and Geely and ZX Auto, handled by Perth-based Chinese Automotive Distributors.

The Joylong deal was revealed to GoAuto by WMC managing director Jason Pecotic, who said the first van – a SUTI (Single Uniform Type Inspection) prototype – was due to arrive in Australia from China about October 10 to be inspected by federal transport department officials for Australian Design Rule (ADR) approval.

168 center imageLeft: WMC managing director Jason Pecotic. Below: Higer van.

Initial vehicles are expected to begin rolling down the Chinese production line soon after, reaching Australian showrooms by November, ahead of mass-produced vehicles for customers in about February.

Mr Pecotic said retail pricing for the van had yet to be set, but he promised it would be “very competitive”.

The van is expected to be similar in dimensions to the high-roof variants of the Ford Transit and Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, both of which are powered by four-cylinder diesel engines.

However, the Joylong van is likely to come decked out as a minibus, giving Higer dealers a smaller offering than the 27-seat Higer Munro bus.

Mr Pecotic said all of the Higer bus dealers in Australia – located in all states – had put their hand up for the Joylong van.

Like the Higer buses and all the other models from JAC and Foton in the WMC portfolio, the Joylong van will be powered by a Chinese-made 2.8-litre 110kW Cummins ISF diesel four-cylinder engine in its latest Euro 5 guise.

Joylong’s English-language website shows only a minibus passenger version decked out with seats, and says most of the vehicles produced at its plant are configured with 10-to-15 seats. However, other sites show a panel-sided work van as well.

Mr Pecotic said a name was still to be locked in, but the van would have a western name.

Listed only as the Joylong Commercial Vehicle on the Chinese company website, the van is called Hivan in the Philippines.

The Chinese domestic models are available in standard or luxury levels, with leather seats on the upper model. Alloy wheels are standard on both levels, along with reversing sensors and air-conditioning.

Mitsubishi and Toyota-sourced petrol and diesel four-cylinder engines are available in China, ranging from 2.4 to 2.7 litres, with power from 85kW to 110kW. A five-speed manual gearbox is standard, with an optional four-speed automatic.

Joylong has been making vehicles for only about five years at a factory in Jiangdu, Jiangsu Province – north-east of Shanghai – where the company says it has a production capacity of 30,000 vans a year.

Joylong currently exports to New Zealand, Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Peru, Nigeria, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Iran.

The Joylong vehicle will be one of two Chinese vans to be imported by WMC in the next few months, with a JAC van – similar to the Toyota HiAce – due in February.

However, Mr Pecotic said the vans would be different and appeal to separate buyers.

“We don’t have different manufacturers all producing the same vehicle – they will be different,” he said.

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