Great Wall Motors Australia will take the step into the passenger vehicle market in 2011 with a small car planned for launch in the fourth quarter, following a complete makeover of its SUV and light commercial vehicle ranges around the middle of the year.
Although not yet officially confirmed, the new vehicle is expected to be the Great Wall Voleex C30 – a compact four-door sedan developed to comply specifically with European emissions and safety standards.
Daniel Cotterill from Great Wall Motor’s Australian importer, Ateco Automotive, said the brand was aiming to introduce both automatic and manual versions of a new small passenger vehicle late in 2011.
In Chinese specification, the Voleex C30 is available with a five-speed manual and a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with six-speed manual mode. The compact four-door sedan is powered by 1.5-litre petrol engine with 77kW and 138Nm of torque.
At 4452mm long, 1705mm wide and 1480mm high, the Voleex C30 is around 90mm shorter and 50mm skinnier than the current Toyota Corolla sedan.
Mr Cotterill confirmed Great Wall Motors’ small car – as well as the X240 SUV – would comply with the Federal Government’s requirement for all new passenger vehicles to be equipped with electronic stability control by November 2011.
The X240 will receive a facelift and specification enhancements in the second quarter of 2011. Currently, the SUV is only available with a petrol engine and a five-speed manual transmission, yet sales were still a healthy 3270 units in 2010 – outselling well-established competitors like the Ford Escape and Kia Sportage.
The third quarter of 2011 will see the introduction of both a diesel engine and an automatic transmission option. In China, the 2.8-litre diesel engine is available in two tunes, although Australian X240s are likely to get the more powerful variant, which produces 85kW and 285Nm of torque.
Completing the total range overhaul, the V240 utility will also receive a facelift and equipment upgrade. The dual cab model will be refreshed in the second quarter, while the single cab will receive updates in the third quarter. A diesel engine will also become available in both variants from the third quarter, which should boost sales dramatically. No automatic option will be offered in the V240 range.
Sales of 6690 passenger, SUV and light commercial vehicles propelled Great Wall Motors up the charts in 2010, making it the 17th best selling brand in Australia – ahead of brands like Jeep, Lexus, Land Rover and Peugeot. Sales increased a massive 250 percent compared with 2009, although 2010 was the brand’s first full year on sale in Australia.
Mr Cotterill said Great Wall Motors was not expecting sales to triple again in 2011.
“We’ve always been very realistic about the job ahead of us,” he said.
“We’re not going to see growth of 250 percent again, but what we will see is very solid, stable and prolonged growth.”
Mr Cotterill said the brand would continue with its so-far-successful formula of competitive pricing and high equipment levels in 2011.