Car Guide Slams Chinese Vehicles

MEDIA RELEASE - 10/07/2009

The first Chinese-made vehicles to arrive in Australasia have been savaged in a review by the car buyers’ Dog & Lemon Guide, which describes them as: “a clumsy and unsafe copy of several existing Japanese vehicles.”The review slams the Great Wall SA220 and V240 utes on virtually all fronts, including appearance, safety, performance, fuel economy and handling.Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson – whose road safety research was awarded by the Australian Police Journal – adds:

“One of the reasons these vehicles are so cheap is that many vital safety features have been simply left off in an effort to lower the price.”

“The Great Wall SA220 ute comes without airbags and all versions have a lap-only seatbelt in the centre-rear position. Lap-only seatbelts are known to practically rip the wearer in half in a serious collision, even if the other occupants walk away unscathed.”

“Most concerning, however, is that many five-seater utes these days are often used as family vehicles. In a major collision, the occupants of these utes are at serious risk of life-threatening injury. The Great Wall utes meet the Australian Design Regulations (ADR), but this simply proves that the ADR regulations are woefully inadequate.”

Describing both vehicles as blatant copies of recent Japanese models, the review notes that the manufacturers: “seem to have grabbed large hunks of styling and technology from various Japanese manufacturers and reassembled these parts into a ‘new’ vehicle.”The inside of the utes is described as having a: “faux-Isuzu interior that looks okay but smells like the toy department at a discount warehouse and the plastics give off flimsy vibes.”The review also slams the utes’ performance and handling, saying: “the ride on both versions of this ute is stiff and rough. The ride quality when empty is about the same as a 1980s Toyota Land Cruiser.”The review concludes:

“Would we buy one of these utes with our own money? That’s an easy ‘no’. There have been too many safety compromises and we are unconvinced that the makers of these utes have grasped the fine art of building reliable vehicles.”

However, Matthew-Wilson adds that people shouldn’t underestimate the Chinese car industry.

“The Chinese car industry is in its infancy. Chinese cars are currently pretty terrible, but don’t forget that Japanese cars were once pretty terrible, too. Now Japan’s cars dominate the world. In the future, Chinese cars may dominate the world.”

“Great Wall Motors may become one of the world’s great car companies, but right now their products simply aren’t good enough for Western markets.”

“Think of these utes as the first troops stumbling ashore at the beginning of an invasion.”

The Dog & Lemon Guide review can be viewed for free online: