New Chinese player aims for saleable crash-test result
AUSTRALIA is only a successful crash test away from a full-scale invasion by Geely.
A four-star ANCAP score for the Chinese brand’s sub$16,000 EC7 would open the floodgates for a marque that was corralled in WA because it lacks mandatory electronic stability control.
Geely importer John Hughes, an early Hyundai importer, is bullish about the 1.8-litre EC7 sedan. He hopes to have the car selling across the country by September.
This is an important car for us because it comprises all the safety and quality features we demanded,’’ he says.
Hughes promises a minimum four-star safety score.
We’ll take those test results, when they’re made available to us, and then offer 10 cars to ANCAP for its own evaluation,’’ Hughes says.
If they don’t test them, I’ll pay for testing myself. It is so important that we get this right. Safety is a very high priority for buyers and we want to get the highest level possible within an affordable price range.’’
Hughes plans to sell a pair of Geely EC7 sedans, each with a 1.8-litre engine, five-speed manual transmission, six airbags, electronic stability control and alloy wheels. The base model gets leather upholstery and a four-speaker audio and the luxury model adds a sunroof, Bluetooth with six speakers, satnav, reverse parking sensors and power driver’s seat. The cars have a three-year/100,000km warranty and a five-year driveline warranty.
Another new Chinese brand with products that line up against Great Wall— ZXAuto — is moving ahead with a diesel ute and perhaps an SUV.
Diesel versions of its existing cab-chassis and dual-cab workhorses arrive in July as ZXAuto expands eastward from Perth. The SUV could follow next year.
The brand aims to sell 600 utes this year with plans to expand to 20 outlets by the first quarter of next year.
The new diesel will account for about 70 per cent of sales.
The 2WD cab-chassis model, at $16,990 drive-away, is tipped to be the most popular. There is no plan for ZXAuto passenger cars to be built until at least 2015.
Chinese ambassadors: Geely’snew EC7 sedan; (left) the ZXAuto ute