The JMC Vigus Pro has been officially launched in Malaysia. You’ve previously seen the pick-up truck here via spyshots and a post introducing Angka-Tan Motor (ATM) as the distributor of JMC, which stands for Jiangling Motors Co. ATM is a subsidiary of Bursa-listed Warisan TC Holdings and part of the Tan Chong Group, while Nanchang-based JMC is said to be the sixth largest commercial vehicle brand in China.

The Vigus Pro – China’s second best-selling pick-up truck – enters a competitive local truck market that has the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton, Isuzu D-Max, Ford Ranger and Nissan Navara. Many of these stalwarts have been recently refreshed, too.

As an upstart, JMC has to bring value to the table, and the single variant Vigus Pro is priced at RM98,888 on-the-road without insurance, with SST exemption. The East Malaysia price is RM100,888. ATM says that the Vigus Pro, which is CKD locally assembled at Tan Chong’s Serendah plant, is a “new value proposition among pick-up trucks sold in Malaysia” – let’s see what’s being offered for the money.

The Vigus Pro is powered by a 2.0 litre turbodiesel with a variable geometry turbocharger. It’s a Ford-sourced Euro 3 engine rated at 141 PS at 3,600 rpm and 340 Nm of torque from 1,500 to 2,600 rpm. Not to be confused with the current Ranger‘s EcoBlue Si-Turbo engine (180 PS/420 Nm), the JMC’s ‘Puma’ engine is a sister to the 2.2L TDCi (160 PS/385 Nm) used by the Ranger XL and XLT, but in a more road tax-friendly size.

Quoted fuel consumption is 7.8 litres per 100 km (12.8 km/l) in the UNECE R101 mode, which makes the Vigus Pro one of the most fuel efficient one-tonne pick-up trucks currently sold in Malaysia, ATM says.

The proven engine is mated to big name gearbox, an eight-speed torque converter automatic transmission by ZF. Yup, benchmark auto more commonly associated with premium brand sedans. The ZF box is controlled by an electronic gear selector and there’s manual mode plus steering shift paddles as well.

The name dropping doesn’t stop there. The Puma-ZF8 combo is combined with a BorgWarner 4WD system with a low-range transfer box (2H/4H/4L knob tucked below the AC panel), while an Eaton differential lock shuffles torque between the rear wheels for optimum traction. The Vigus Pro’s Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) module from is Bosch. It includes ABS, EBD, traction control, stability control, hill start assist and hill descent control for speeds below 8 km/h.

This Chinese truck is around the same size as the one-tonne trucks we’re familiar with. The 5,305 mm length is the same as a Mitsubishi Triton, and the 3,085 mm wheelbase matches the Hilux. Some might have guessed from the JMC’s wide mouth and chunky bumpers that it’s pretty wide – at 1,905 mm, the Vigus Pro is 35 mm wider than the latest D-Max, the widest of the current bunch. Ground clearance is 225 mm.

However, at 1,475 mm long and wide, the square bed is on the smaller side. Payload is 850 kg. Not the ultimate in cargo loading then, but not many trucks are used for load lugging these days.

The Vigus Pro is suspended by independent double wishbones in front and a rigid axle with leaf springs at the back. At each corner are ventilated disc brakes (front and rear) and 16-inch two-tone alloys wrapped with 265/70 Maxxis A/T tyres. Above those are huge square arches that are a big part of the truck’s look. Also unique to the square-cut design are prominent hooks on the outside of the bed. The sport bar (with integrated third brake light) is curiously skinny, though.

In terms of kit, the Vigus Pro gets automatic halogen projector “tiger eye” headlamps with manual levelling, C-shaped LED daytime running lamps that frame the fog lamps, rear fog lamps, power adjustable and auto folding side mirrors with LED repeaters and heaters, auto wipers, front and rear parking sensors, speed sensing auto door locking (25 km/h) and side steps.

Inside, analogue dials flank a non-colour multi-info display. The head unit is an 8.0-inch touchscreen with USB and Bluetooth connection, hooked up to four speakers and a reverse camera. The seats are fabric but the two-spoke flat bottom steering wheel is leather wrapped and comes with two spokes of buttons (audio and cruise control) and paddle shifters. Elsewhere, the JMC has manual air con, a manual hand brake and a traditional twist key.

Nothing much to shout about safety wise, as there are just two airbags and Isofix child seat mounts to accompany the ESP suite mentioned above. The Vigus Pro is available in four colours – Solid White, Brilliant Silver, Glossy Black and the signature Steady Brown. Steady, bro.

The truck comes with a three-year or 100,000 km warranty. It is available for viewing and test drives at 13 ATM dealerships nationwide (more coming soon), supplemented by 13 after-sales service workshops under the Tan Chong umbrella. Lastly, Vigus Pro buyers can opt for JMC Care insurance, which touts 18 benefits including expected ones such as free towing and PA coverage.

Customer deliveries will start later this month. Mayflower Car Rental, which is also part of the Tan Chong Group, is JMC’s first fleet customer with an initial order of 30 units. ATM is targeting sales of 350 units from now till the end of 2021, and the company has hinted at more models, plus entry into other ASEAN markets with JMC.

As a popular model in China and with off-the-shelf components from big name suppliers, reliability shouldn’t be a worry. The styling might not be to all tastes and the kit list isn’t very long, but at RM98,888, what do you think the JMC Vigus Pro as a value proposition versus the usual truck suspects?