Another Chinese truck maker has arrived in the highly competitive Australian market with Jiangling Motors or JMC announcing to the local media that its light duty range would be on sale in Australia from this month.
JMC’s announcement comes following the quiet and underwhelming launch of its Vigus ute in 2015 and the faltering efforts of other Chinese truck makers, JAC and Foton.
Foton has sold a total of 729 trucks since it launched here in 2011 while JAC sold less than 200 trucks mainly from a stock that was imported by then importer WMC in 2012 before a management shake up and re-organisation brought the brand to a grinding halt in this country.
So will JMC be any more successful than its compatriots from China?
JMC says it will, but one would expect that sort of confidence from a new arrival.
The company will launch its new trucks with a starting price of $31,990 with four models with GVM ranging from 4.5 tonne to 7.5 tonne with a choice of either a 2.4 litre diesel or a more powerful three-litre diesel.
The JMC trucks reflect a one-time collaboration between JMC and Isuzu several years ago with more than a passing resemblance to the NPR Series.
The company’s 2.4-litre high-pressure direct-injection turbo diesel produces out 120hp and 315Nm of torque while the larger models use the three-litre 150hp turbo diesel. Both are mated to a six-speed Getrag manual gearbox while both use SCR AdBlue and comply with Euro 5 emissions standards.
JMC says it has plans afoot for tipper and pantec variants in the future.
The entry level car licence compliant short wheelbase 55-90 Conquer model will be available from $31,990 in cab chassis form, using the 2.4-litre turbo-diesel and can be configured with either 4.5-tonne GVM or 5.5-tonne GVM load ratings.
The Conquer 60-90 medium wheelbase is the next step up the range, priced at $34,990 for cab/chassis with a GVM of six- and on a longer 3360mm wheelbase.
The medium wheelbase 67-110 Conquer uses the larger three-litre turbo-diesel rated at 6.7 tonnes GVM and uses air brakes while the range topping Conquer long wheelbase 75-110 also uses the larger engine and comes with a 7.5-tonne GVM on a 3815mm wheelbase priced at $39,990.
Although exact spec is yet to be confirmed it is understood the trucks will be equipped with ABS brakes, air-conditioning and an FM radio/CD/MP3 Audio system.
It is yet to be confirmed if SRS airbags, cruise control or ESC will be available as optional equipment.
The company claims to have 14 dealers signed on for the launch of the truck with the company saying it has plans to add more dealers and a stronger presence in Australia.
According to JMC national director Amos Yue the fledgling importer is not anticipating too much volume this year but hopes that will increase in the next year.
“Australia is a very tough market for Chinese brands. At the moment we’re looking for more dealers to sell our trucks, which are a totally different channel to our utes,” said Mr. Yue.
“We’re accepting a total of 25 dealerships in the next year. We don’t have big targets, and we are very careful in bringing these new products to the Australian people. The product needs to be good, the servicing needs to be good – and we believe we’ve got that in our product,” he added.
“We have full confidence in our quality and our price, which is about 30 per cent lower than most competitors.”
JMC is launching the Conquer range with a three-year, 100,000km warranty.
The interior is resplendent with ample cubbies and storage compartments, along with seating for three people.
No airbags, stability control, cruise control or rear differential lock functions are yet available.