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Shanghai show: Great Wall goes for gold

Upmarket: China's Great Wall Motors has sprung this CHC 011 four-door 'coupe' at Auto Shanghai.

Great Wall utes first for Oz, but get set for a whole new world of Chinese luxury

21 Apr 2009


OF THE 12 new models Great Wall Motors (GWM) showed at this week’s Shanghai motor show, the H7 SUV and a Mercedes-Benz CLS-style four-door ‘coupe’ concept dubbed the CHC 011 attracted by far the most attention.

Australian GWM distributor Ateco Automotive says it has no information on either model or their prospects of being made available to Australia, but the Sailor and Wingle dual-cab utilities that will go on sale in Australian in June, badged the SA220 and V240 respectively, were also on hand.

Ateco managing director Ric Hull said the light-sized Florid hatchback and Hover mid-sized SUV were still in the process of obtaining Australian Design Rule (ADR) certification, and both cars are still due on sale here late this year.

He said the Peri had not been superseded for Australia by the Florid, and was also on Ateco’s wish-list for release here via a 60-strong national dealer network.

“The utes are still on target for June (release) and the Florid and Hover are progressing in the ADR process,” he said.

“We’re still on target (for launch) for late this year. All the cars we’ve talked about are still on the books and the Peri is lurking there in the background somewhere. (But) I have no details on any of the new cars here,” said Mr Hull.

 center imageLeft: GWM Hover H7. Below: GWM Florid.

While the CHC 011 represents an even more ambitious venture away from GWM’s traditional role as China’s largest exporter of commercial vehicles, the H7 is Great Wall’s first serious attempt at a luxury SUV.

With heavily stylised front and (“flame-shaped”) rear lighting extending over both wheel arches, the CHC 011 is a large sedan concept that features show car highlights including cameras in place of rear-view side mirrors and a fingerprint recognition unlocking system.

Great Wall’s large front-drive luxury sedan rides on a 2870mm wheelbase and measures a Commodore-dwarfing 5030mm long, 1885mm wide and 1465mm high.

Power comes courtesy of a 3.0-litre petrol V6, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, while suspension is handled by sophisticated double-wishbone front and multi-link independent rear systems.

Proving that Great Wall knows precisely what equipment is expected in a full-size luxury sedan, Great Wall says the CHC 011 features adaptive cruise control, a BMW i-Drive-style interactive media interface system and 10-way power-adjustable, heated and ventilated front seats.

Even better, the CHC 011 is equipped with eight airbags, active head restraints and electronic stability control (ESC). It has a kerb weight of 1650kg.

The Isuzu-based H7, meantime, represents a new flagship for the Hover SUV range. Riding on a lengthy 2927mm wheelbase, it is 4790mm long, 1920mm wide and 1820mm high, and offers 220mm of ground clearance.

Sending a clear signal that top-end SUVs may no longer be the exclusive domain of global US and European makers or their join-venture partners, at least in China, the luxury SUV employs Great Wall’s expertise a the nation’s largest commercial vehicle exporter.

Complete with a transparent styling feature that runs the full length of the vehicle’s side, which appears to give to side glass a C-shaped glasshouse, the H7 weighs 2010kg, offers disc brakes all round, speed-dependent power steering assistance and fully independent suspension at both ends.

The H7’s latest-technology Euro V emissions-compliant 3.0-litre alloy V6 petrol engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Safety features include an anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and electronic stability control (ESC).

Cool technologies includes adaptive cruise control and night vision systems.

Read more:

First look: Great Wall’s 2009 wares

Great Wall vehicles here mid-year

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