China’s best-selling ute for the last 18 years, the Great Wall, is returning to the New Zealand market after a two-year absence.The Chinese conglomerate, which sells more than a million utility vehicles a year, will resume selling the utes here later this year.
Taking direct control over distribution of its models in both New Zealand and Australia, the company will also introduce a more contemporary medium-sized Haval SUV to the market.
There are around 5500 Great Wall utes on New Zealand roads, but there have been no new imports for the last two years.
Great Wall Motors is re-launching the brand with a new Steed dual cab ute, to go on sale here before the end of the year.
While New Zealand prices for the utes are still to be determined, the company has indicated it will be extremely competitive in one of the fasted-growing sectors of the new vehicle market.
If Australian prices are any guide, the Great Wall Steed dual cab will be priced here in the low $20,000 range.
Another Chinese manufacturer, Foton, lists its dual-cab ute from $24,339 plus GST and on-road costs.
“The new Steed is the ute farmers and tradies have been looking for,” said Great Wall Motors Australian and New Zealand general manager Tony Carraturo.
“It represents a great combination of form and function that offers outstanding value for money,” he told journalists at the re-launch of the brand near Melbourne this week.
Standard features on the one-tonne ute will include six airbags and ESP, although at this stage the two petrol-engined variants, and two diesel-engined models, will be available with manual gearboxes only.
There will be petrol and diesel variants in 2x4 and 4x4 versions.
The petrol models will be powered by a 2.4-litre multi-point fuel injection engine, while the diesel models will be powered by a 2.0-litre direct injection turbo-diesel engine.
The Haval H6 SUV. Picture/Supplied
The new Great Wall is 305mm longer than its predecessor and 30mm higher. The rear tray is 155mm longer, while a new front grille design adds a further 150mm to the front of the ute.
Standard exterior features include side steps, a stainless steel sports bar, mirror-mounted indicators, daytime running lamps and 16-inch alloy rims.
The list of standard features includes heated seats, powered driver’s seat (6-way), cruise control with steering wheel controls, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, stainless steel scuff plates, and climate control air-conditioning. The new Steed has six airbags, including full-length side curtain airbags.
The Steed dual cab ute also come standard with Bosch’s V9.0 Electronic Stability Programme, including ABS, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution, Brake Assist, and Hill-start Assist Control. It also comes standard with Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).
Mandatory on passenger vehicles sold in the USA and EU, TPMS provides the driver with instant warnings of abnormal tyre pressures. Great Wall says safety experts believe incorrectly inflated tyres are responsible for numerous accidents.
In addition, running correct pressures reduces tyre damage, extends tyre service life and helps ensure optimum fuel economy.
The new models, to be joined in New Zealand next year by the higher-specced, more up-to-date and Haval H6 SUV, will be sold through most of the previous Great Wall dealers.
The Haval H6 reflects the Chinese company's progress towards supplying more contemporary models to mature and competitive motoring markets such as Australia and New Zealand.
Great Wall executives said the company would be provide full servicing and spare parts back-up for the brand in this country. Of the 5500 Great Wall utes sold in New Zealand, around 2000 remain under warranty.
More details about the pricing of the new models in New Zealand will be released next week.
Read more about both the Haval H6 SUV and the Steed in Saturday’s editions of Driven.