YOUR TRUSTY STEED: GWM launches a model on the SA bakkie market with it revised Steed line-up. From November 2014 and throughout 2015, the automaker will continue to introduce new Steed bakkies. Image: Wheels24/ Sergio Davids
DURBAN, kwaZulu-Natal - GWM entered SA in 2007. Since then it's been long, hard slog to sway South African buyers. GWM SA reports that since 2007, the year it launched its Steed bakkies, it has sold 50 000 vehicles, 75% of them bakkies.
The brand has invested heavily in the commercial segment with frequent updates. Now (Nov 2014) there's another with arrival of the Steed (5, 5E and flagship 6) with style, tech, safety and mechanical enhancements. GWM also reveals its local models for 2015 but more on that at the end of the article.
STEED 5, 5E AND FLAGSHIP 6
Here's a summary of the new bakkies:
GWM's budget workhorse available as a single- and double-cab, with a turbo version too. It's called the WGT engine. It stands for (honest!) Wast Gate Turbo.
The Steed SE, based on the Steed 5, has significant improvements to its cabin, particularly with sound and vibrations insulation. GWM is punting the 5E as a "budget-friendly, family do-all" bakkie. Double-cab only.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 GWM Steed 5E
The flagship, double-cab only. Aimed, GWM says, "at customers for whom an upmarket double-cab is a leisure tool and status symbol". The Steed 6 has several improvements over the 5E, particularly "a refined interior".
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 GWM Steed 6
GWM SA's brand manager Hannes Oosthuizen said: “The realigned Steed line-up is the result of close co-operation between GWM SA and Great Wall Motors in China.
“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 is also made up of variants carefully specced and positioned to comply with SA trends and requirements.”
STEED 5 - BUDGET-FRIEND WORKHORSE
The current Steed 5 single-cab 2.2 will remain a "comfort-oriented" workhorse (radio/CD audio, aircon, power steering), as well as GWM's top-selling double-cab variant. The range will be bolstered with the addition of a new turbo-diesel version.
Oosthuizen said: “While these 2.2-litre models continue to do well it's been clear for some time that we needed a more competitive turbodiesel at the lower end of the market. Great Wall has developed the WGT largely because South Africa had asked for it.”
The engine delivers 78kW/225Nm and is mated to a five-speed manual. It will for now power the new entry-level turbodiesel bakkies, available as either single- and double-cabs.
The Steed 5 double-cab 2.0 WGT SX has two airbags, anti-lock brakes with electronic pressure distribution alloy rims, aircon, radio/CD, leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel and a rear differential lock.
The Steed 5E has cosmetic changes over the standard version: a new front bumper with foglights and a wider, lower air dam, chromed highlights, narrower grille and darkened headlights. The facia has revised instrumentation, the upholstery is black with leather inserts.
The previously roof-mounted aerial has been integrated into the windscreen.
The Steed 5E (double-cab only) is available in two trim levels, SX and Xscape. The SX has aircon, radio/CD with USB connectivity, two front airbags, 16" alloy rims. The Xscape benefits from leather upholstery, touch-screen media system (with Bluetooth), rear diff-lock, side steps, roll bar and tyre pressure monitoring.
The engine line-up consists of the 93kW/200Nm 2.4-litre petrol, 105kW/305Nm 2.0-litre VGT turbodiesel.
Competitor analysis (by GWM):
STEED 6 - GWM'S NEW FLAGSHIP
The Steed 6 is GWM’s new flagship bakkie positioned, the automaker says, as "an upmarket leisure vehicle" with a large chromed grille, diode headlights and a SUV-styled skid plate.
The cabins have been modelled on European rivals with two deep-set analogue gauges and a comprehensive trip-data computer. According to GWM, the leather-clad instrumentation binnacle is unique in the segment; there's also a leather-wrapped, four-spoked, multi-function steering-wheel and piano-black trim.
Two trim levels are offered: the SX has aircon, radio/CD with Bluetooth, height-adjustable driver’s seat, rear diff-lock, 16" alloy rims, two front airbags and ABS/EBD.
The flagship Xscape has leather upholstery, powered driving seat, six airbags, cruise control, auto lights/wipers, electronic stability control and hill-start assist. The exterior has side steps, roll bar and roof rails.
Both Steed 6 derivatives have a 105kW/305Nm two-litre VGT engine and a six-speed manual gearbox. The line-up will expand with 4x4 units in 2015.
Steed 6 pricing vs rivals:
GWM Steed 5 Single-Cab 2.0 WGT - R199 900
GWM Steed 5 Double-Cab 2.0 WGT SX - R229 900
Steed 5E 2.4 SX - R229 900
Steed 5E 2.4 Xscape - R244 900
Steed 5E 2.0 VGT SX - R259 900
Steed 5E 2.0 VGT Xscape - R274 900
Steed 6 2.0 VGT SX - R294 900
Steed 6 2.0 VGT Xscape - R319 900
NEW STEEDS IN 2015
GWM will continue to expand its Steed range with the following:
Steed 5 single- and double cab 2.2. MPI Safety edition (airbags, ABS/EBD)
Steed 5 WGT 4x4 (single and double-cab)
Steed 5 WGT single-cab safety edition (airbags, ABS/EBD)
Steed 5E 2.0 VGT Xscape 4x4 (low-range and diff-lock)
Steed 6 2.4 SX (entry-level version)
Steed 6 2.0 VGT Xscape 4x4)
MORE FROM GWM
GWM participated in the SA government's RT57 programme (subsidised transport scheme) for the first time in 2014, resulting in 100 vehicles sold to the SAPS.
The automaker will enhance its H6 SUV line-up with a minor facelift and a possibly a six-speed auto for 2015. Similarly, its M4 SUV will also receive style enhancements, among them diode headlights, tweaked front and rear bumpers and a new steering-wheel.
GWM has also confirmed negotiations for potentially introducing luxury-arm, Haval, to SA.