Safe ex­pec­ta­tions

New Chi­nese player aims for saleable crash-test re­sult

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Car News - neil.dowling@cars­

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


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