GWM Launches Intensified Attack On South African Bakkie Market
Through its high-value bakkie offerings GWM has already established itself as a significant player in the South African single- and double-cab pick-up segments. Now, with the introduction of a restructured Steed line-up that is even more in tune with South African requirements, the company is bullish about its growth prospects in what are two of South Africa's largest-volume market segments.
"The realigned Steed line-up is the result of close cooperation between GWM South Africa and Great Wall Motors in China," says Hannes Oosthuizen, Brand Manager of GWM SA. "South Africa loves bakkies, and GWM is already well-established in that regard, but with this new line-up, we will offer a model range that not only stretches wider than most, but one which is made up of variants that have been carefully specified and positioned to comply with South African consumer trends and requirements," he explains. "From the fitment of a rear differential lock as standard on some models, to the development of a new, more affordable turbodiesel engine for the local market, the revised line-up shows that GWM South Africa listens to its customers."
The new Steed line-up consists of three individual models; the trusty Steed 5 which is already a favourite among South Africans, and which continues in Single- and Double-Cab forms; the Steed 5E, to be offered as a Double-Cab only and; the flagship Steed 6 leisure Double-Cab.
These three individual models target different customers:
To be offered in Single- and Double-Cab form, and priced from R154 900 to around R230 000. Steed 5 Single-Cabs primarily target customers looking for a working vehicle, while the Double-Cab derivative offers a measure of lifestyle appeal at a very attractive price.
Double-Cab only, and priced from just under R230 000 to around R280 000. The 5E is based on the Steed 5, but significant changes to its interior and particularly in the area of NVH control (noise, vibration, harshness) make it a more refined option that will also appeal as a family do-all.
Leisure Double-Cab only. Priced from just below R300 000 to around R350 000. Targets customers for whom an upmarket Double-Cab is a leisure tool and status symbol, and who demand modern conveniences and the latest safety features.
GWM STEED 5
With its blend of load-carrying ability, comfortable cabins and high-value pricing, the GWM Steed 5 has been a big success for the brand in South Africa. "We're delighted to have the Steed 5 continue in South Africa as it will again perform a vital role in the local line-up," explains Oosthuizen.
The existing Single-Cab 2,2-litre MPI continues as a comfort-oriented workhorse (audio system, air-conditioning and power steering as standard), and the top-selling Double-Cab, also driven by the proven 2,2-litre petrol engine, remains as one of the most affordable vehicles of its type in the local market, priced at R179 900.
"While these 2,2-litre models continue to do well for us, it has been clear for some time that we needed a more competitive turbodiesel offering at the lower end of the market," says Oosthuizen. "Great Wall in China has developed the new WGT engine largely because we had asked for it."
The new engine is a close relative of the more powerful VGT, but employs a simpler waste-gate turbo as well as a Bosch control system (as opposed to Delphi on the VGT). The WGT engine delivers 78 kW at 4 000 rpm and 225 Nm from 1 400 to 2 800 rpm. It is mated with a five-speed manual transmission and the claimed fuel consumption figure is 8,1 L/100 km (single-cab). "The engine has been extensively tested in South Africa and we have no doubts that the market will appreciate its blend of economy and driveability," says Oosthuizen.
The WGT engine will initially be used to power the brand's new entry level turbodiesel bakkie, priced at R199 900. "Our dealers haven't had a diesel product to sell in this extremely competitive segment for a while, so it's a very important new arrival," Oosthuizen explains. Just as important is the new entry level turbodiesel Steed 5 Double-Cab. Priced at R229 900, and equipped with items such as dual airbags, ABS/EBD, alloy wheels, air-conditioning, radio/CD system, a leather-wrapped, multi-function steering wheel and even a rear differential lock, the Steed 5 2,0WGT SX is a compelling option for families looking for a new Double-Cab on a budget.
|Pricing of new models:|
|GWM Steed 5 Single-Cab 2,0WGT||R199 900|
|GWM Steed 5 Double-Cab 2,0WGT SX||R229 900|
GWM STEED 5E
Moving upmarket, the Steed 5E is set to become a mainstay of the GWM line-up in South Africa. "The Steed 5E's refinements go beyond the very obvious cosmetic changes - in fact, it drives like an all-new product!" says Oosthuizen.
GWM's engineers have paid particular attention to the NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) control of the Steed 5E, and the result is a significantly quieter (and therefore more relaxed) cabin environment. Almost no area has been left untouched - some of the refinements include;
- The roof-mounted aerial is gone, and is now integrated into the windscreen.
- New, quieter and more effective windscreen wipers have been adopted.
- The side indicators have been incorporated into the rear-view mirror housings.
- Extra sound-insulation material have been used to isolate the cabin.
- The rear seat cushions have been revised to improve long-distance seating comfort.
Furthermore, the Steed 5E receives a significantly revised facia with a new instrumentation panel and modernised centre console layout with new audio and climate control interfaces. Piano-black trim is used throughout and leather inserts are used on the door panels (even on SX derivatives). Attention to detail is once again evident in the rubber matting provided in the floors of all the various storage spaces.
GWM is offering the Steed 5E (which is only offered as a Double-Cab) in two trim levels, SX and Xscape. The SX offers such features as climate control, radio/CD with USB support, dual front airbags, ABS/EBD and 16-inch alloy wheels as standard, with the Xscape adding leather upholstery, a touch-screen media system with Bluetooth, rear diff-lock, side steps, roll bar and tyre pressure monitoring. (See specification sheet for further detail)
With its finely chiselled new exterior features, the Steed 5E also boasts a far more modern and powerful presence. The new front bumper features integrated fog lamps and a wider, hungrier-looking lower airdam that is neatly accentuated by twin chrome-finished strakes on either side. The narrower grille aperture, flanked by darkened headlamps, further boosts the sophisticated appearance.
The engine line-up consists of the proven 2,4-litre petrol (46G69) unit that develops 93 kW and 200 Nm of torque, and the brand's further-refined 2,0-litre VGT turbodiesel (105 kW and 305 Nm). A four-wheel drive version of the 2,0-litre VGT Xscape will join the local line-up shortly.
|Pricing of Steed 5E launch models:|
|Steed 5E 2,4 SX||R229 900|
|Steed 5E 2,4 Xscape||R244 900|
|Steed 5E 2,0VGT SX||R259 900|
|Steed 5E 2,0VGT Xscape||R274 900|
GWM STEED 6
"The pre-launch interest in the Steed 6 has been phenomenal," says Oosthuizen. "Ever since its first showing at the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) last year, we've been flooded with requests for more information. And now it is here…"
The Steed 6 is effectively GWM's new flagship and is positioned as an upmarket leisure vehicle. "Given its cabin comforts, its size and not to mention its very bold styling, the Steed 6 will force the public to take notice," Oosthuizen explains. "You simply can't miss it, or ignore it."
As Double-Cabs that target leisure- or family oriented customers increasingly do, the Steed 6 prioritises cabin space, creature comforts, design appeal and safety to offer a very attractive multi-purpose solution to most families' motoring needs. But undoubtedly its unique design will be a major draw card.
It features a big, bold chrome grille with contoured louvres, flanked by high-intensity projector-style headlamps. Lower-down, it boasts standard LED strips (a segment first) above the fog lamps, and an integrated SUV-style skid plate.
Much of the Steed 6's presence is a direct consequence of its dimensions. At 5 345 mm, it is one of the lengthiest bakkies on the South African market, and its 3 200 mm wheelbase is also among the best in class, with obvious benefits to cabin space and particularly rear legroom.
"We're confident that the Steed 6's cabin can stand comparison with the best pick-up offerings from Germany and Japan," Oosthuizen boldly states. The facia design is very Germanic, with two deep-set analogue instrumentation gauges flanking a comprehensive trip computer. Unique to this segment is the leather-covering of the instrumentation binnacle, a detail touch that reinforces the Steed 6's upmarket intentions. Other examples of this premium focus include a leather-wrapped, four-spoke multi-function steering wheel and piano-black trim on the facia.
Two trim levels are offered, with the SX derivatives boasting such items as climate control, radio/CD with Bluetooth, height-adjustable driver's seat, Eaton rear diff-lock, 16-inch alloy wheels, dual front airbags and ABS/EBD. Flagship Xscape variants offer a full-house package that includes leather upholstery, electric driver seat adjustment, six airbags, cruise control, auto lights/wipers and, for the first time in a GWM product sold in South Africa, Bosch ESP (electronic stability) and hill-start assist. The exterior package of Xscape models further benefits from the addition of factory fit side steps, roll bar and roof rails.
At launch, both Steed 6 derivatives are powered by the brand's proven 2,0-litre VGT engine that delivers 105 kW and 305 Nm of torque through a six-speed manual transmission. The line-up will be further expanded in 2015 with the addition of 4x4 derivatives.
|Pricing of Steed 6 launch models:|
|Steed 6 2,0VGT SX||R294 900|
|Steed 6 2,0VGT Xscape||R319 900|