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Beijing show: JAC springs sports coupe

JAC attack: There are no immediate plans to add the sexy Heyue SC sports coupe to JAC's mainly commercial line-up in Australia.

China’s JAC unwraps sports coupe at Beijing show as trucks set sail for Australia

24 Apr 2012


WHILE the first batch of trucks from JAC Motors was rolling out of the factory and onto the ship for Australia this week, the Chinese vehicle-maker was revealing something at the other end of the automotive scale at Auto China 2012.

Looking like a scaled-down American muscle car, the JAC Heyue SC sports coupe was one of the surprises at the annual Chinese automotive extravaganza, upstaging many of the larger companies on the world stage.

However, do not reach for your credit card just yet – the sportiest JAC is unlikely to make it to Australia any time soon under the import arrangements in place with Sydney-based WMC Group.

At this stage, WMC has eyes only for JAC’s commercial vehicle range, starting with the light-duty trucks that are set to go into local showrooms within a few weeks.

So far, 10 demonstrators have left the JAC factory at Hefei, bound for Australia, and after being fitted with various bodies will be sent out to dealers for customer test drive duties.

They will be followed in June by the first 100 customer trucks, with a top-up batch of 50 to follow.

The JAC trucks – powered by ISF Cummins diesel engines – have been several years in the development pipeline under an import deal underwritten by one of Australia’s largest dealer groups, AHG.

63 center imageThe light-duty trucks – for urban delivery work and similar roles – will go head-to-head with established brands such as Isuzu and Hino in Australia, creating a cheaper alternative, as Great Wall has in the ute market.

JAC trucks will be sold in parallel with Higer buses in a dealer network covering all states.

At some point, WMC expects to expand the JAC range into light commercials and, eventually, passenger cars, all of which the Chinese state-owned company already sells on the Chinese domestic market.

But the new JAC sports coupe appears to be purely a Chinese domestic vehicle, as it is powered by a lacklustre Mitsubishi-based 2.4-litre 4G69 four-cylinder engine – one of the mainstays of the small manufacturers in China.

Producing 121kW of power and 217Nm of torque, the Heyue SC coupe is unlikely to scare Porsche, but the price will be a lot more attractive in China, where many sportscars are outside the reach of mere mortals due to high import duties.

No performance figures were given at the show, but the light weight of 1380kg would help performance.

Although the Heyue SC looks somewhat fanciful, show sources say it will be offered alongside JAC’s current range of passenger vehicles, which now includes a new compact SUV that was also revealed at the show.

The all-new S2 SUV will be powered by a choice of 1.8-litre normally aspirated and 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engines when it goes on sale in China this year, with exports reportedly set to follow.

WMC has no plans to import the SUV into Australia in the short term, but has not ruled out such a vehicle in years to come.

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