After a failed attempt at the Australian light truck market over a decade ago, Chinese automotive brand JAC says it will launch a one tonne dual cab ute in Australia with its Chinese built JAC T9 set to land in her midway through 2023.

 Queensland based truck and bus importer and distributor BLK Auto will handle the JAC T9 Hunter and says it  will introduce a new range of diesel and electric pickup trucks to Australia and New Zealand.

BLK says it will import two versions of the dual-cab, four-wheel drive T9  Hunter ute, with a 2.0-litre turbo-diesel set to be launch in June 2023,  with an electric version due in the second quarter of 2024.

The company revealed that Australia and NZ will be the first international export markets for the JAC T9 Hunter , which is currently only sold in China.

BLK Auto has  recently been trialling the JAC N55 electric truck  with customers in Australia and NZ over the last two years and says it is aiming to leverage the launch of the pickups to establish a comprehensive dealer network across both countries.

BLK Auto’s managing director Jason Pecotic said the JAC T9 Hunter would be priced at a similar level to other Chinese-made utes including the GWM Cannon and the LDV T60,  both of which start at less than $45,000.

Pecotic indicated he expected the T9 to tap into the growing demand for pickups in Australia, not only from tradies looking for a strong-performing workhorse, but also from family drivers as well as recreational enthusiasts seeking a capable four-wheel drive vehicle with powerful towing capacity.

“Australia’s best-selling vehicles overall are the Toyota Hi-Lux and the Ford Ranger – pickups are incredibly popular at the moment,” Pecotic said.

“The ute market is huge, with about 180,000 units sold here each year,” he said .

“But many buyers face a long wait to buy a pickup, so we expect the JAC T9 to be an extremely attractive alternative at a more affordable price point,” he added.

The JAC T9 uses a 2.0-litre turbo diesel  engine  producing 125kW of power and 410Nm of torque mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with a part-time 4×4 system and will have a 3,500kg braked towing capacity, while

Standard equipment will  include heated power adjustable seats, climate-control air conditioning, a 10.4-inch touch screen entertainment system with Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity, a wireless charging unit, active cruise control and a 360° Around View camera.

Jason Pecotic said JAC is aiming for a 5-star ANCAP safety rating for the T9, with safety features including seven airbags, an electronic stability program, a tyre pressure monitoring system, hill descent control, lane departure warnings and lane keeping assist, blind spot detections, a rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking.

He said BLK Auto was seeking to work with new dealer partners and its existing network to distribute the T9 pickups across the country.

“The JAC pickup range will complement the existing electric truck offering from JAC and provide our dealer network with a new option to market,” Pecotic said.

“By the end of 2023 we will be importing three models of JAC electric trucks, and the two JAC pickup models will significantly add to the product range and help us grow our dealer network by giving our dealers more products to sell.”