Great Wall launches its Steed pick-up at the CV Show at the NEC today (Tuesday 24 April) as the first customers in Britain hit the road with their high specified double cabs from £13,998.
For that, the entry Great Wall Steed S model comes with leather upholstery, heated front seats and BlueTooth connectivity, while the £15,998 SE gains a hard-top canopy , chrome effect detailing, body coloured spoiler and protective loadbed liner.
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Only the trim levels differ as the Steed comes with a single mechanical specification of double cab, 4x4 transmission and a 140bhp 2.0-litre diesel four-cylinder engine mated with a six-speed manual gearbox incorporating low and high range boxes, offering between 30 and 37mpg. It carries just over one tonne and will tow two tonnes.
Insurance groups are 7A and 8A respectively and Great Wall is promising a committed dealership network of 40 outlets so far who will "go the extra mile" to provide test drives up to 20 miles from a showroom. The Steed comes with a 3yr or 60,000 miles warranty.
Great Wall's UK importers are the IM Group, which also sells Isuzu but has previously handled SsangYong and Hyundai. The Chinese marque's UK MD, Paul Hegarty, was bullish for its future.
"Great Wall is the first major Chinese brand to come to Britain and you only get one opportunity to be the first at anything and we want to do it right," said Mr Hegarty, adding, " Great Wall has a motto to improve little by little every day and this is what we will be doing."
Great Wall is the biggest pick-up seller in China and has been building automobiles since 1976, and also sells SUV and family cars.
Hegarty would not be drawn on how many Steed models they anticipate selling in the UK over the next 12 months, but said they had plenty of stock imported at Sheerness and would be able to meet demand.
He said the growth of Great Wall in the UK would be organic and driven by customers: "We want to offer unrivalled value and service in the market and to stand out from our competitors with a pick-up which is cheaper than the rest, but comes with more equipment than some of the dearest."
Hegarty said the brand was quite well covered in Britain but there were still a few gaps in urban areas and along the M40 and the ideal number in the UK would be about 50 outlets.