Now here’s some news. Great Wall Motor Company is the first Chinese carmaker to sell its products in the UK, starting this month. The company’s vehicles – assembled at its new European plant – will be sold in 40 dealers, all newly appointed and hand picked.
The vehicle that gets the honour of becoming Great Wall’s – and indeed China’s – first UK offering is the 2012 Steed pick-up truck, which we know as the Wingle. The Chinese carmaker says is ‘equally adept as a workhorse or a weekend getaway vehicle’.
The Steed runs with a 2.0 litre, 16-valve turbocharged diesel engine that is said to give good mileage of 34.0 mpg, or about 6.9 l/100km; no other performance figures are given. The vehicle, equipped with a ‘on demand’ 4WD system, has a max payload of 1,050 kg, among other numbers.
Great Wall’s first will come in two trim levels – the Steed S and the Steed SE. The Steed S is kitted with 16-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, remote central locking, a Thatcham-approved Category 1 alarm, electric front and rear windows, Alpine CD/radio with USB and Bluetooth, steering-wheel audio controls, air-conditioning, heated front seats and full leather interior.
The Steed SE comes complete with everything the Steed S has, plus body-coloured hard top canopy and spoiler, chrome trimmed daytime running lights and side bars, black roof rails, load bay liner and rear parking sensors.
Great Wall is giving a three-year/60,000-mile (or 96,560 km) mechanical warranty, a six-year anti-perforation warranty, three-year paint warranty and three-year roadside recovery and assistance package. There’s also the promise of inflation-proof servicing plans, service pick-up and drop-off, and arranging test drives in a customer’s location of choice, if it’s within 32 km of the dealership.
Given the fact that the Brits are spoilt for choice when it comes to vehicle selection, I wonder if Great Wall has done enough to kick-start a revolution.