Great Wall of utes

Util­i­ties spear­head the Chi­nese ad­vance, writes KEVIN HEP­WORTH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE first of an ex­pected wave of Chi­nese cars went on sale in Aus­tralia last week, cost­ing more than ex­pected and lack­ing ba­sic safety fea­tures.

A pair of Great Wall utes spear­head what is pre­dicted to be a tide of Chi­nese-made ve­hi­cles wash­ing on to Aus­tralian shores.

How­ever, nei­ther of the Great Wall mod­els has elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol. The base model SA220 also has no airbags or an­tilock brakes.

When the In­dian-built Mahin­dra Pik-Up and Toy­ota LandCruiser get their safety in the com­ing months it will leave the SA220 as the only car for sale here without a sin­gle airbag.

Nei­ther of the Chi­nese mod­els has been crash-tested for an ANCAP safety rat­ing.

A Great Wall Motors spokesman says the car has been crasht­ested in China.

‘‘We are as­sured the com­pany’s own crash test­ing is to the same stan­dard as ANCAP,’’ he says.

And sug­ges­tions the Chi­nese mod­els will be­come Aus­tralia’s cheapest cars will have to wait for the ar­rival of the small sedans early next year.

The Great Wall utes start at $19,900 for the 4x2 SA220 and top out at $26,990 for the 4x4 V240.

Aus­tralian im­porter Ateco Au­to­mo­tive has set up a 45-strong na­tional dealer net­work to sup­port the new brand.

The mod­els have al­loy wheels, power win­dows, leather-trimmed seats and air­con­di­tion­ing.

The spokesman de­scribes the SA220 as the more ‘‘ma­ture’’ of the two mod­els.

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