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Chinese trucks set to arrive in early 2011

Confirmed: China's JAC Motors trucks will hit the streets of Australia from early 2011.

JAC trucks to be distributed through 24 dealers in first wave of Chinese haulers

19 Jul 2010

SYDNEY-BASED bus distributor White Motor Corporation (WMC) is set to shake up the Australian truck market by introducing Chinese-made trucks nationally from early next year.

The company, which already distributes Chinese-built Higer buses and coaches in Australia and New Zealand, has been granted import rights for the JAC Motors range of light, medium and heavy-duty trucks for Australasia.

A second brand of Chinese trucks, this time in the heavy-duty field, is set to be added to the WMC armoury later next year.

JAC – Jianghuai Automobile Co – is China’s largest and best-established truck exporter and the country’s second largest truck-maker, with truck products ranging from pick-ups to prime-movers, and well as buses and passenger cars.

The leading producer of light trucks in China, the company sold 320,000 vehicles last year. This year, it expects to top a million light truck sales alone.

JAC already makes some of its trucks in right-hand drive for a range of markets, including several African countries, and even has a design centre in Japan – the world’s biggest right-hand drive market.

As GoAuto reported last week, at least two other Australian distributors – well-established passenger car importer Ateco and fledgling Chinese car importer Chinese Automotive Distributors – have told GoAuto they are also looking to expand into trucks from China, which has one of the biggest truck industries in the world.

WMC says it is already testing JAC trucks in Australia to adapt them to Australian conditions ahead of the Australian launch in the first quarter of 2011.

 center imageLeft: A JAC heavy duty truck. Below: A Higer coach.

It also has completed Australian Design Rule (ADR) certification testing in China for two JAC trucks. The company is now just awaiting Euro 5 emissions paperwork from engine supplier Cummins to finalise Australian sales approval.

WMC CEO Jason Pecotic said the company’s acquisition of distribution rights for JAC in Australia and New Zealand marked a milestone for both the truck industry and the company.

“JAC will be the first Chinese manufacturer to market trucks in Australia in significant volume and across a range of models and variants,” he said.

“The arrival of JAC in Australia will inject new competition into the Australian truck market and mark a paradigm shift in truck pricing and value for money expectations amongst truck buyers,” he said.

“While offering competitive pricing and specifications JAC will deliver proven reliability, efficiency and safety standards using globally recognised components from the likes of Cummins, Allison and Wabco to name but a few.”

Mr Pecotic, whose background is in retail sales with Toyota and Holden, said JAC truck distribution would start when a national dealership network was in place in 2011.

He told GoAuto that 24 well-established existing truck retailers covering all states had already signed up for the JAC franchise.

“We have been given the task of establishing the brand in Australia and we have been working hard to secure a strong dealer network throughout the country backed up by parts and service resources to ensure JAC’s success,” he said.

Mr Pecotic said WMC would have access to the full JAC range of trucks, but would launch with a range of light and medium-duty trucks from 4.5 tonnes GVM (gross vehicle mass) with a mix of transmission and wheelbase options.

“Our intention is to add heavy-duty models to the range once our initial product range is established," he said.

Mr Pecotic said the range would open with three models, all with Cummins diesel engines and Allison automatic transmissions.

Later, the company would offer a ZF manual transmission alternative.

Australia’s hotly contested delivery truck segment – 3.5-7.5 tonne GVM – accounts for about 12,000 sales a year, with Isuzu’s N-Series, Mitsubishi Fuso Canter and Hino the dominant players.

WMC was established about four years ago to import and distribute completely-built up Chinese-made Higer buses and coaches in Australia.

According to WMC, Higer is China’s leading bus manufacturer and exporter with annual sales of 19,000 buses - almost twice as many as some of Europe’s largest bus-makers.

Since sales started with a limited range about 18 months ago, more than 100 Higer buses and coaches have been sold in Australia.

Mr Pecotic said JAC had chosen WMC – no relation to the original White truck company of America – for the JAC franchise because of its success with Higer buses.

JAC sales will kick off in New Zealand in October after the arrival of two demonstrator vehicles now on a ship from Shanghai. These Euro 4 emissions-compliant trucks can be sold in NZ, but Australia has to wait for Euro 5 comliant vehicles.

The WMC team handling JAC from the company’s new Milperra headquarters in Sydney includes former Nissan UD executive Shannon Taylor as sales and marketing manager.

WMC’s contract with JAC applies only to trucks. GoAuto understands at least two other importers have had talks with JAC about its passenger car and ute offerings.

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