Shanghai Motor Show - After years of competing at the lower end of the bakkie market, Great Wall Motors is leaping straight into the mainstream of the one-tonne bakkie market with a product that will directly rival the big guns like Hilux, Ranger, Amarok and Navara.

This new bakkie range, although not formally named just yet, was revealed to the world at the Shanghai Motor Show earlier this week, and it’s on course for South Africa. Vaughan Swanepoel, who is the PR and Marketing man for Haval Motors SA, recently told IOL that the new bakkie is destined for our market, with the importer aiming to get it here by 2021.

GWM used the Shanghai show to reveal three versions of the new one-tonner, in the form of a rugged 4x4 variant, a luxurious version that’s curiously named the ‘passenger’ model and a fully electric derivative, while lower-end work-oriented variants are also in the pipeline.

Built on an all-new platform said to be shared with the next-generation Haval H9, the new bakkies are similar in size to the Ranger and Amarok, and from the information released thus far, appear to be at the technological sharp end of the spectrum.

The premium versions are fitted with multi-link suspension and the new series also gets an ZF eight-speed automatic transmission.

GWM hasn’t officially confirmed the engine line-up as yet, but Australian publication CarAdvice, citing insider knowledge, reports that the company will offer a 2-litre turbodiesel that produces around 145kW and “380Nm to 400Nm”.

High-end gadgets are also very much the order of the day in the luxury variant, which GWM says will offer an internet-connected touchscreen infotainment system with high-precision voice control as well as active cruise control, intelligent park assist and quilted leather seats with heating.

The off-road model takes a more rugged approach with its built-in winch, triple diff locks, 900mm fording depth and seven-setting All Terrain Control.

That's as much as we can tell you now - stay tuned for more information as GWM makes it available.

IOL Motoring