China’s Great Wall Motors is about to release a new challenger in Australia’s highly competitive ute market.
The Great Wall Motors Cannon ute is in the final stages of preparation for its Australian showroom arrival and should be here late this year or in early 2021.
Great Wall Motors was one of the first Chinese ute brands on sale in Australia – arriving here via an independent distributor in 2009.
After initial sales success, Great Wall utes faded into obscurity after an asbestos recall and patchy distribution in the years that followed.
Now a new ute from China aims to take a step up in safety. The 2021 Great Wall Motors Cannon ute (pictured above) is a completely new model and promises advanced levels of safety and technology.
Documents filed by Great Wall Motors with Australia’s Road Vehicle Certification System (RVCS) have outlined further details, although some data appears to be based on European standards rather than the specifications expected locally.
For example, the documents list a maximum towing capacity of 2250kg (its rating in Europe) however Great Wall Motors is understood to be chasing a towing capacity of 3500kg in Australia, which would put it on par with class-leading rivals – and ahead of the LDV T60 (3000kg) and Mitsubishi Triton (3100kg).
Furthermore, the Cannon name is yet to be confirmed. The RVCS documents list the name of the new Great Wall ute as ‘Poer’ which roughly translated into English is meant to sound like the word ‘pow’, the noise a cannon makes.
The stylised badge on the grille (pictured below) is meant to symbolise the letter ‘P’ for ‘power’ and ‘peak’ (or pinnacle), although the engine output is not class-leading.
The name, price and specifications for the 2021 Great Wall Motors Cannon ute are due to be announced in the coming months.
A representative for Great Wall Motors in Australia, Edward Mason-Jefferies, declined to outline further details but said: “We are excited to introduce the new pick-up in Australia and New Zealand in the near future. We believe that this new product has the potential to shift perceptions and be a real game-changer for our brand and we looking forward to sharing more details soon.”
Great Wall also would not disclose what advanced safety features might be available on the new ute. However if the vehicle is to achieve a five-star safety rating against current criteria it would likely need a centre airbag between the front seats, and advanced aids such as blind spot warning, lane keeping assistance, and rear cross-traffic alert.
A statement from Great Wall Motors Australia said: “Safety has been at the forefront of the development of this vehicle and we are working with (Australian crash test authorities) towards official testing in the future”.
The Australian certification documents reveal the Great Wall Motors Cannon ute will have four-wheel disc brakes versus rear drum brakes used by rivals such as the Toyota HiLux, Ford Ranger, Isuzu D-Max and Nissan Navara.
The certification documents show the Great Wall Motors Cannon ute will be powered by a 2.0-litre turbo diesel with a modest output of 120kW.
This compares to the Toyota HiLux (150kW/500Nm), Ford Ranger 2.0 (157kW/500Nm), Isuzu D-Max (140kW/450Nm) and the new 2.0-litre in the LDV T60 (120kW/375Nm).
The torque rating for the new Great Wall ute is not listed on the RCVS document and will be announced closer to its showroom arrival. In China, however, this engine has an output of approximately 400Nm.
The certification documents also reveal the engine will be backed by a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic.
The 2021 Great Wall Motors Cannon ute is expected to be a major step change from the current line-up of utes from the manufacturer.
While price is yet to be confirmed, CarAdvice believes Great Wall Motors will be obliged to move out of the bargain basement end of the ute market, given the extra technology and advanced engineering in the new model.
The Great Wall Motors Cannon ute could also mark the start of a rebranding exercise for the Chinese company; in overseas markets it has already moved away from Great Wall Motors and is now known as GWM.
However, representatives for the company in Australia declined to comment on any possible change.