Make / Model Search

Future models - Great Wall - C30

Great Wall model roll-out begins

Great expectations: The Great Wall C30 small sedan is a likely candidate to enter the Australian small car market in late 2011.

Corolla challenger C30 may be part of Chinese new-model push by Great Wall

23 Apr 2010


GREAT Wall Motors (GWM) importer Ateco Automotive has been asked to assess a new small sedan that would compete head-on with the top-selling Toyota Corolla and Hyundai i30 from the end of 2011.

The Great Wall C30 – announced at the Beijing motor show today – was sighted by GoAuto several times yesterday being tested at the Great Wall Motors head office and plant at Baoding, two hours’ drive west of Beijing.

Also known as the Tengyi C30, the new small car has been developed to meet European safety and emissions standards.

GWM, which is a publicly listed company in the United States, is one of the fastest-growing car-makers in China.

Last year the company sold 180,000 vehicles in China and 35,000 overseas. This year the company is ramping up to build 400,000 vehicles – 350,000 to 360,000 for China and 40,000 to 60,000 for overseas.

GWM says its short-term ambition is to make one million cars a year and its aim is to boost its exports so that it sells one car overseas for every one car it sells in China.

To achieve that it now plans to broaden its model range in order to take on volume sellers like the Corolla which from time to time becomes Australia’s top-selling car.

61 center imageLeft: Great Wall Voleex (Phenom). Below: Great Wall Cool Bear.

The general manager for new ventures at Ateco Automotive, Dinesh Chinnappa, told Australian journalists in China: “You will see stuff at the motor show that we have not been made privy to.

“But Great Wall has asked us to look at a Corolla-sized passenger car that would arrive at the end of 2011.”

The C30 represents a breakaway from the current focus for GWM on pick-ups and SUVs.

It would join a similar car from Chery, China’s biggest domestic brand and exporter, which announced earlier this week that it would field the Chery J3 in Australia late this year via Ateco.

At a press conference at Baoding, Ateco revealed its plans to ramp up its Great Wall model line-up in Australia after a successful launch of the brand that has been well beyond the company’s expectations.

Sales of the current range X240 four-wheel drive SUVs, the V240 dual cabs in two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive and the SA220 dual cab in two-wheel drive are running at about 500 units a month.

These will be joined by a cab-chassis pick-up which should be available to dealers for in June or July, depending on shipping and the final homologation process.

Mr Chinnappa said: “The SUTI (single uniform type inspection) inspection is actually taking place midway through next week. So that assumes clear sailing for the SUTI and then we go to full mass production.”

The cab-chassis will be two-door only in bothe two- and four-wheel drive. It will be manual only using the same engine as the dual cabs and sharing the same underpinnings.

Mr Chinnappa said: “There is no such beast in the Australian market, and we think that with the pricing structures we hope to achieve at launch that we can create a market for a four-wheel drive petrol cab chassis.

“Largely because of the clarity-in-pricing it will be sold with a drop-side tray at an advertised drive-away price point.”

He said that Ateco would not be taking a tub for the two-door.

“The tub would be available to us if we wanted it but we have not homologated it and we have done it as cab-chassis only. We saw 80 per cent of the volume would be in the cab chassis. As you know we believe in dumbing the model range down to make life easy for the dealers.”

He said the cab-chassis was “a certainty” and the only variable on the timing would be the homologation and SUTI process.

Mr Chinnappa said Ateco believed they should achieve a price of under $20,000 drive-away and that it hit a “sweet spot in the market” Ateco would expect sales of between 200 and 300 units a month.

The next model in the starting stalls will be a diesel version of the Hover X240 with revised front styling from the present range. It will have a two-litre diesel engine with six-speed manual and, for the first time for Ateco with a Chinese product, a five-speed automatic.

The name is not final but it will be along the lines of X200TD.

The petrol X240 will remain with the present nose styling.

The diesel engine will achieve 100kW at 4000rpm with torque 310Nm at 2000rpm. Ateco expect dealers to be able to start ordering these cars by the end of November this year for sale in the first quarter of 2011.

After that, Ateco will launch Great Wall’s first passenger car entrant, the Phenom, which is to be renamed at the Beijing motor show as the Voleex.

The timing on that is “a little vague” because there are still SUTI processes to complete, but estimates are the end of the first quarter next year or early in the second quarter.

The Voleex is a Kia Rio-sized vehicle (a little bigger than a Getz) with a 1.5-litre petrol engine and five-speed manual transmission. Outputs are 77kW of power and torque of 138Nm.

It will be available with Great Wall’s in-house developed CVT automatic transmission as well. Pricing will be slightly under the Koreans with a “very strong specification package advantages”.

The other car Ateco is “desperately hanging out for” is the diesel manual-only versions of the V series dual-cabs. These are scheduled for the second quarter of 2011.

“A large proportion of our Great Wall dealers are in rural markets and this car would represent some fairly serious and significant volume potential for them,” Mr Chinnappa said.

“We have been selling good volumes of dual-cabs as petrol and we are pretty jazzed at the thought of getting a diesel. That market is almost 100 per cent diesel.”

This version will get a new nose to house an intake air scoop but the petrol will continue on with the present styling “for a little while”.

“We have a long way to go to homologate that car. Great Wall’s priorities have been to homologate the diesel engine in the SUV first and then turn their attention in terms of engineering resources to the dual-cab series.”

The diesel will be a 2.0-litre turbo diesel with a six-speed manual transmission with outputs of 100kW after 4000 rpm and 310Nm over 3000 rpm.

No automatic transmission will be offered by Ateco because at this stage they are not available from Great Wall for the dual-cabs even though it has been developed for the SUVs.

Looking further into the crystal ball, Mr Chinnappa said: “Now we go out of the realm of the ‘fairly certain’ and into the realm of ‘yet to be negotiated’ and things we are looking for in the pipeline.”

The first is a motor home. Ateco has ordered a unit to bring into Australia to assess its viability given the complexities of importing something that has a whole range of not just ADRs but other Australian standards applying to it.

“It is very much an unknown quantity for us. The plan is to bring it in and let our engineers crawl all over it and work out whether or not it is feasible.

“The pricing we have had from Great Wall would indicate it would be a brain-snappingly good proposition in this market if we can get it through the homologation process.”

Insiders suggest that with basic conversions on top of other pick-ups selling for around $60,000, there would be room for an advantage over competitors in either price or equipment of more than a $10,000. Standard features include a chemical toilet and a shower.

The primary markets would be New Zealand and Tasmania with “some additional opportunity” in mainland Australia.

Mr Chinnappa said: “You cannot ask me what it competes against because there is nothing like it. The degree of spec that is available in the vehicle in not available from the third party converters who build them up.”

The trial vehicle being sent to Australia will be on a petrol chassis “to get it here faster” but Ateco would take it as a diesel.

Mr Chinnappa said that as the Fiat distributor, Ateco knows that market and their people are “very excited” about the project.

Further on into the realms of yet to be discovered and known, Great Wall has asked Ateco to assess the Cool Bear and the M2.

“We have fed them back information and over the coming months we will assess the two models in terms of pricing potential for Australia. They are willing, ready and able to deliver right-hand drive versions and the question finally revolves on whether we want it and whether it is viable for Great Wall to deliver it at the price we need it at.”

Indications were that Ateco would prefer to import the front-drive Cool Bear with 1.5 litre engine in the hope of creating a cult car at under $20,000. The bulkier M2 – which comes in two- and four-wheel drive – is not gaining as much traction with Ateco’s product planners.

Read more

Click to share

Click below to follow us on
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram
Catch up on all of the latest industry news with this week's edition of GoAutoNews
Click here