This is the Maxus Tarantula Concept that was showcased at the Beijing Auto Show in April. It may look like nothing more than a flight of fancy from a brand known for its commercial vehicles, but the Tarantula has been confirmed for production, and will surface as a midsize SUV in mid 2019, slotting under the flagship D90 SUV.

This was revealed to paultan.org by Burt Wong, SAIC Maxus deputy chief technology officer and design executive director, at the recently concluded 2018 SAIC Motor Overseas Media Tour event in Shanghai. He said that the production version of the Tarantula showcar will be “80% like the concept” in terms of appearance.

This means that we’re basically looking at the production SUV minus showcar details such as the LED screen grille, fancy lighting and tiny wing mirrors.

The unique lines on the profile of the D90 – one from the bonnet diving down at the door mirrors, a straight crease that goes all the way to the back, and the bottom stroke of the daylight opening merging with the roof rails – are all present here too. The smaller Maxus SUV is set to get bolder front and rear design.

The production Tarantula will share a platform with the upcoming Maxus G50 MPV, which will be launched in China in December this year. The G50 is a smaller and shapelier sibling to the brand’s G10 people carrier, which itself is set to be replaced by a new model in 2019. The midsize monocoque SUV-MPV duo has been designed with regular, plug-in hybrid and full electric drivetrains in mind, although the order of launch is yet to be determined.

Word is that the G50 MPV will be 4,800 mm long and 1,800 mm wide, with a 2,800 mm wheelbase. That’s around the size of a Honda Odyssey, which is 4,840 mm long and 1,820 mm wide, with a 2,900 mm wheelbase. Maxus’ junior MPV is set to have a various seat configurations – five-seater, 2-2-3 and 2-2-2.

The coming few years will be a busy period for SAIC Maxus. Vice GM Xie Mingshi says that from December 2018, the company will launch a new model every two to three months. The brand will also debut an electric-powered modular urban commercial vehicle called the M-Cube at next year’s Shanghai show.

Maxus, along with Roewe and MG, is an in-house brand of SAIC Motor (Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation), the largest auto company in the world’s largest auto market. SAIC is ranked 41st in the Fortune Global 500 list, with sales of 6.93 million units in 2017. It’s the JV partner of not just Chinese market leader Volkswagen, but second placed GM as well.

In Malaysia, Maxus is set to introduce the T60 pick-up truck by the end of this year. The brand’s flagship D90 SUV – which along with the T60 is already on sale in fellow right-hand-drive market Australia – is being studied for our market and is a possibility for 2019.


GALLERY: Maxus D90