JAC, one of the top five automotive conglomerates in China, has joined the gold rush in Australia.

    The new brand is bringing a new ute, its T9, with plans to expand rapidly in coming years to reach more than 50,000 annual sales across a broad range of models.

    The T9 is a conventional diesel-engined dual-cab pick-up, but there are also plans to sell a plug-in hybrid – perhaps as soon as 2025 – with a future commitment to a battery-electric model.

    An SUV, spun-off from the T9 in the same style as the Ford Ranger and Everest, is also in the plan.

    The pricing for two models of the T9 are both set below $50,000 on the road and, with testing happening this month,

    JAC Motors Australia said it is confident of a five-star ANCAP safety score.

    It has a seven-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty with free roadside assistance in the first year.

    Details of capped-price servicing, snd assistance details for the remainder of the warranty, are still being finalised.

    JAC, pronounced Jack, is going all-in on equipment and safety as it has recognised the need to service both tradies and weekend explorers.

    Both the opening Oasis and flagship Haven have a common mechanical package with a 2.0-litre turbo diesel engine, automatic gearbox and part-time four-wheel drive.

    The T9 has a conventional ladder-frame chassis but the equipment includes seven airbags – including a front centre bag – rear air-con vents, and a full complement of safety systems.

    The total investment in the JAC plan, from product development in China to resources for its local importer LTS Auto, is more than $140 million.

    “This is a strategic market,” the global chairman of JAC Group, Xiang Xingchu, told CarExpert.

    “Solid. Step by step,” he said of the company’s plan for Australia.

    His company already exports to more than 130 countries after starting as a heavy-truck maker in 1964.

    It has a strategic partnership with Volkswagen Group but there are no details on the technology provided by the European maker.

    The T9 will be available through a conventional dealer network of more than 50 outlets and JAC Motors Australia claims it will have one of the shortest supply pipelines and quickest turnaround times in Australian motoring.

    Already it has flagged a change to the rear-view camera, moving it from an offset position to the centre of the tailgate, for implementation within a couple of months.

    JAC’s Australian management is reluctant to comment on sales targets once the T9 is available next month, but Mr Xingchu is optimistic.

    “The target is 10,000 vehicles in the first year. Then 40-50,000 once we have more models,” he told CarExpert.

    “The importer will decide which model is most appropriate for the market.”

    MORE: Everything JAC T9

    Paul Gover

    Paul Gover is one of the most experienced and respected motoring journalists in Australia. After more than 40 years on the automotive beat there is nothing he has not done, yet he still brings the enthusiasm of a rookie. He has worked in print, digital, radio, television and for every major publisher in the country. He is also a national motor racing champion and once co-drove with Peter Brock at Bathurst.

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