It's No Mahindra, But How About Great Wall?
American consumers may have been robbed of a chance to buy the Mahindra pickup, but how about one from Great Wall?
China Car Times has a quote from Great Wall CEO Wang Feng Ying (lifted from the paywalled Automotive News China) about possible plans for Great Wall products – made in America, no less.
Great Wall Motor Co., China’s largest SUV maker, expects to begin selling SUVs in the United States around 2015, making it the first Chinese automaker to enter the American market in volume, the president of the company says. The automaker is also actively exploring whether to build SUVs in the United States. “Since the United States is far away from China and its import tariffs on vehicles are not particularly high, we would prefer to build the vehicle locally,” Wang Fengying told Automotive News China on Sunday at the Shanghai auto show.
Great Wall is apparently preparing a pickup truck for the U.S. Market as well. Already on sale as the “Great Wall Steed” in the UK, reviews have been particularly dreadful. While the British motoring press are hardly paragons of objectivity, a recent report by Bernstein Research, involving a complete teardown of a Great Wall SUV followed by a road-test, found that their products are far behind the standard that Western consumers are used to. Combined with a fairly ambitious timeline for launch and the notion of Great Wall products on sale in the US looks somewhat far-fetched.
I was going to say how great it would be to have a Suzuki Sidekick/Geo Tracker sized SUV with 4x4 manual trans and diesel power, slap a snow plow on it and go. But then I realized I should likely just get a tractor to do the same job - better.
I don't know man...I drove a bunch of these in Iraq and they felt like someone took a 250,000 mile HiLux and copied it out of cheaper materials. Maybe they have gotten better but I'll let someone else test that theory out. We occasionally got to drive some Tata trucks my last tour to Afghanistan and I wouldn't mind one of those if the price was right. You always felt let down when you got the Tata however that you didn't get a Defender as they and 70 series Land Cruisers were also common. Anyway, you buy a great wall first and report back in a few years.
And I can take "far behind the standard" if we are talking a solid front axle and windows you have to roll up yourself. I have the feeling he is referring to things like corrosion resistance and frame rigidity however based on my experience.
I wonder if they'll sell you Yanks the "Asbestos Edition" like they did us down-under. http://news.drive.com.au/drive/motor-news/asbestos-parts-in-recalled-cars-wont-be-replaced-20120815-247jv.html