■Great Wall Motor Company to become first Chinese car brand on sale in UK■Robust and stylish Steed pick-up on sale now, priced from £13,998 (CVOTR)■2.0-litre turbo diesel offers class-leading fuel economy■Chinese brand promises unmatched value and superb customer service■New Steed set to star at the Commercial Vehicle Show (NEC; 24-26 April) Great Wall Motor Company – one of the most successful car manufacturers in China – this month becomes the first Chinese automobile brand to commence volume vehicle sales in the UK, with the launch of the 2012 Steed pick-up.
On sale through a newly-appointed nationwide network of 40 hand-picked Great Wall dealers (for locations, visit www.greatwallmotor.co.uk), the Steed is a robust and highly practical pick-up, equally adept as a workhorse or a weekend getaway vehicle.
The new Steed promises to be the most affordable pick-up in the UK – both to buy and to run. Prices start at just £13,998 (CVOTR) for the generously equipped Steed S model, and the vehicle’s newly-developed 2.0-litre, 16-valve turbocharged diesel powerplant delivers class-leading fuel economy (30.1 mpg urban; 37.7mpg extra urban; 34.0 mpg combined). To further keep down ownership costs, the Steed boasts the lowest insurance ratings (from 7A) of any vehicle in the pick-up segment.
The Steed’s chunky appearance – amplified by muscular wheel-arches and high ground clearance – signals its durability as well as its capabilities as a versatile load-lugger, both on- and off-road. Under the galvanised steel skin lies a safe and robust, rust-proofed ladder-frame chassis, strengthened and braced by reinforced middle cross-members, an impact-absorbing rear beam and a reinforced cargo bed.
Carrying capacity compares very well with established pick-up rivals, the spacious cargo bay measuring 1,380 mm x 1,460 mm x 480 mm (length, width, depth). The 1,050 kg maximum payload is also very competitive – and towing capability is an impressive 2,000 kg with a ‘braked’ trailer and 750 kg unbraked.
Inside the four-door Steed’s generously proportioned double-cab body there is ample head, leg and shoulder room for the driver and up to four passengers. Storage areas are plentiful, including a lockable glove-box, front centre console, front door pockets with cup holders and front seatback map pockets.
When the terrain gets more challenging, the driver can engage the Steed’s low-range gearbox, as well as the ‘on demand’ four-wheel-drive system – the latter at speeds of up to 12 mph.
The Steed might be able to work hard when required, but it is not a stripped-down, utilitarian device. It is luxuriously appointed, and no similarly priced pick-up on sale in the UK will rival its impressive tally of standard equipment.
The entry-level Steed S (£13,998 CVOTR) comes with a host of features typically offered as high-cost options in competitor vehicles, including 16-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, remote central locking, a Thatcham-approved Category 1 alarm, electric front and rear windows, an Alpine CD/radio with USB/MP3 and Bluetooth connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, air-conditioning, heated fronted seats and a full leather interior.
The range-topping Steed SE costs just £2,000 more (£15,998 CVOTR), and adds body-coloured hard-top canopy, body-coloured spoiler, chrome trim to the daytime running lights, chrome side bars, black roof rails, load bay liner, and rear parking sensors.
The Great Wall Promise
In order to ensure that the buying and ownership experience of a Steed is as rewarding and trouble-free as possible, all dealers for the new brand have committed to the ‘Great Wall Promise’. This will include customer benefits such as inflation-proof servicing plans, service pick-up and drop-off, and even the option of arranging a test drive at a location of the customer’s choice if they live or work within 20 miles of their nearest Great Wall dealership.
All Steeds come with a comprehensive three-year / 60,000-mile mechanical warranty, a six-year anti-perforation warranty, three-year paint warranty, and three years’ roadside recovery and assistance.
The UK launch of the Steed comes 35 years after the first Great Wall vehicle rolled down the company’s production line in Baoding, Hebei Province, near Beijing. In the interim period, the brand has become China’s largest SUV producer, building total assets of £2.7 billion, an employee base of over 45,000 people worldwide, and an annual production capacity of 800,000 vehicles, with plans to increase to 1.5 million by 2015. It currently exports vehicles to over 120 countries.
Great Wall boasts impressive credentials in the production of pick-ups. It has manufactured the best-selling pick-up in China every year since 1998, and the Steed pick-up that makes the brand’s debut in the UK attracts around 100,000 sales in its domestic market each year.
“The Steed is sure to attract lots of interest in the UK thanks to its unbeatable value and the unique Great Wall customer service promise being offered by our new network of dealers,” said Paul Hegarty, Managing Director, Great Wall UK. “Our pick-up boasts a high level of practicality, reliability and durability, as well as low running costs. It will represent a superb ownership proposition and will give Great Wall a flying start in the UK.”
Later this month the Steed will make its UK show debut at the Commercial Vehicle Show, being held at the Birmingham NEC (24 to 26 April) – the first time a Chinese car manufacturer has exhibited at the event. Four Steed vehicles will be on display on stand 70 in Hall 3A.