GWM Ute to get Australian engineering, tuning

First you get the sales, then you get the ANCAP crash rating, then you get the Aussie tuning. That seems to be GWM's chronology with the Ute.

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello
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Great Wall Motor (GWM) wants to build on its momentum with the Ute, by looping in Australian engineering for localised upgrades.

Without going into a heap of detail, GWM Australia said this week the next step for its hot-selling budget dual-cab was to get it more localised, addressing regular feedback from prospective buyers considering taking a punt.

“GWM is… exploring local options for vehicle enhancement, engineering and tuning to further strengthen its appeal to Australian buyers,” the company said this week.

The statement came at the same time as it announced an ANCAP five-star crash score, giving it a look-in among fleet buyers (mining, forestry etc). It’s also pledged to lob a new Dual Cab Chassis variant into the mix from early 2022.

Details around the nature of the localisation program aren’t all that clear, since GWM’s local arm is still at the stage of having high level conversations with some of Australia’s generally well-regarded engineering firms.

Without saying so officially, our read is that the company is keen for suspension changes like a GVM upgrade, and is interested in tapping into the recreational 4×4 space – the likes of ARB are likely doing continued work in this market too, as the GWM becomes more common.

As we found in our GWM Ute off-road review, while the dual cab is an impressive bit of kit for the money in many ways, it could be set up a little better for local off-roading, particularly in terms of suspension tune.

Regardless of the path GWM takes, it’ll probably have precedent, since localised tunes are common in the ute market.

To name but two examples, the LDV T60 Trailrider program used Walkinshaw to make it handle Aussie corrugated B-roads better, while Nissan teamed up with Premcar on the Navara Warrior program to make a hardcore version beyond the existing OEM flagship.

Separate to this, and as we’ve already reported, GWM is working with Chinese 4×4 accessory companies over there to tap into a growing enthusiast community in its home market.

China’s leading 4×4 specialist Yunliang is working with the company to produce the ‘Black Bullet’ edition – and there’s a lot more to it than just the styling add-ons.

Yunliang, run by its namesake who has spent the past 15 years or so building a business and a community of off-roaders in China, is that country’s biggest importer and distributor of leading brands like Australia’s own 4×4 accessory giant ARB.

MORE: China’s HiLux gets hardcore treatment
MORE: Australia becomes top export market for GWM Haval
MORE: Chinese brands overtake Subaru and Honda as market evolves
MORE: Australia becomes top export market for GWM Haval

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello
Mike Costello is the News Editor at CarExpert.
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