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Ageing Great Wall ute dropped

Handbrake turn: Great Wall's entry-level SA220 ute has been axed from the Australian line-up just a year after launch.

Ateco euthanises Great Wall SA220 and puts all its ute efforts into thriving V240

Great Wall logo8 Jul 2010

By RON HAMMERTON

GREAT Wall Motors importer Ateco Automotive has quietly dropped the slow-selling, Chinese-made SA220 ute from its range in Australia.

The 2.2-litre four-door ute became the cheapest dual-cab workhorse on the market when it was launched at $19,990 driveaway alongside its more advanced, better-equipped but pricier sibling, the V240, in June 2010.

Just a year later, dealers are running out the remnants of SA220 stock and focusing sales attention on the in-demand 2.4-litre V240 range, which was expanded last month with a single-cab model priced from just $17,990.

Great Wall spokesman Daniel Cotterill said the decision to delete the SA220 from the range was taken locally for commercial reasons.

“It was our decision to drop it,” he said. “It never quite lived up to its sales potential, so we decided to let it go.”

Called the Great Wall Sailor in China, the SA220 was introduced without airbags, ABS or even a rear high-mounted stop light, which may have scared off some buyers.

A poor two-star crash rating from the independent Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) would not have helped.

Since launch in June 2010, Great Wall dealers have sold just 576 SA220s – an average of little more than 40 a month – compared with 2406 V240s (about 200 a month).

61 center imageFrom top: Great Wall V240 single cab, V240 double cab, X240.

The two-wheel-drive-only SA220 was already ageing when it was launched in Australia. Even in China it has now disappeared from Great Wall’s public web site and was probably doomed for Australia, even if Ateco had wanted to keep it running.

The V240 has thrived in Australia, despite a safety hiccup when a seatbelt retractor mechanism failed during an ANCAP crash test, forcing the recall of all vehicles in customer hands in December. That was followed by another recall to fix a faulty handbrake in May.

Powered by a Mitsubishi-derived 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol engine producing 100kW of power and 200Nm of torque – compared with the SA220’s 78kW/190Nm – comes loaded with dual front airbags, ABS, central locking, four-speaker CD/radio and air-conditioning. The two-door version comes standard with a drop-side aluminium tray.

Sales of the V240 are split almost evenly between 4x2 and 4x4 variants, with the 4x2 dual cab starting at $23,990 and the top-of-the-range 4x4 dual cab at $26,990.

The V240 utes share the Great Wall showrooms with the X240 SUV, introduced in Australia at $23,990 driveaway last October.

Based on a full-chassis Toyota 4Runner platform, the X240 is, like its ute siblings, available only in manual form but offers high and low range on the fly.

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