As we reported last week, Great Wall — the first Chinese brand to properly crack Australia’s car market — is returning after a circa 18-month hiatus, with a new ute model and a new in-house distributor, also responsible for its Haval SUV division.
The company told us today that it hoped to secure a national network of about 50 dealers, most of which are existing Great Wall centres who signed on with the previous distributor, Ateco Automotive, and was targeting between 5000 and 10,000 annual sales.
Company spokesman Andrew Ellis said this morning that the company was aware of the difficulties it faced, with the booming light commercial market more aggressive than ever. However, the company said it also knew there was good will and curiosity out there.
“The good thing is we have a lot of customers waiting for us to come back, lots of good will out there.
“We have, since our first Haval display, [had] customers who have been saying ‘you’re owned by Great Wall — when’s the new one coming out?’
“We are quietly confident, and we’re launching with a good product.”
The new Great Wall ute model will be headlined by a (potentially 100kW/310Nm, based on overseas figures) 4×4 turbo-diesel variant with six-speed manual transmission, Borg-Warner torque on demand intelligent four-wheel drive system and an Eaton diff lock.
It will also feature “high levels of safety”, with six airbags as standard equipment.
Great Wall enjoyed significant success when it launched here in 2009, selling about 40,000 utes and SUVs (the latter is now the province of Haval), peaking at more than 11,000 units in the year 2012.
For some context, sales of 10,000 units (a stretch target) annually would give Great Wall a market share of about 5 per cent.