GWM followed the ‘save the best for last’ school of thinking when they pulled the covers off their macho Steed 6 pick-up after a thrilling presentation of their new passenger cars at the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS).
Improved leisure-oriented featuresFirst revealed at the Shanghai Auto Show in China earlier this year, the Steed 6 (which will not replace the Steed 5) features bold styling and rides on 17-inch alloy wheels, emphasised by boldly flared wheelarches. Measuring 5 430 mm in length, 1 800 mm in width and 1 755 mm in height, the biggest pickup yet to come from GWM is further differentiated by its ground clearance of over 200 mm and a long wheelbase that measures 3 200 mm.
At launch, the GWM Steed 6 will be offered with a range of engines and transmissions. However the concept vehicle currently on show at JIMS is fitted with GWM’s proven 2.0-litre VGT powerplant that delivers 110 kW and 310 Nm of torque.
In terms of equipment, the premium interior features a touch-screen info-tainment system, climate control, one-button start-up, stitched leather inserts on the facia and six airbags. Improved safety and comfort systems include ESP, hill-start and descent assistance, a differential lock and an intelligent four-wheel drive system.
Year on year growthWith 32 per cent year-on-year sales growth in the first six months of 2013, GWM’s impressive performance in its domestic market has continued unabated. As one of China’s largest automakers the brand employs about 42 000 people around the world and also builds around 800 000 vehicles every year - among them - the Steed, which has been China’s best selling pickup since 1998, shifting 120 000 examples each year.
Now ranked 8th overall in the Chinese market (including joint-venture operations) star performers in GWM’s product line-up (all of which are on show at JIMS) were the H6 SUV (88 800 sold in first six months), M4 crossover (58 700 sold) and C30 compact sedan (71 400).
The Steed 6 will be positioned as a premium-segment vehicle aimed at upmarket, leisure-oriented shoppers in the double-cab market.
“The leisure double-cab segment remains an important one in South Africa, to such an extent that the Steed 6 will perform an important flagship role for us. It will take the fight straight to the current market leaders. We can’t wait to introduce it,” said GWM Brand Manager, Hannes Oosthuizen.
Set to go into production in China in early 2014, South Africans can expect to purchase the pickup during the course of next year, however showgoers can have a good look at this important new player for the duration of JIMS.