JAC confirms new diesel and EV utes for Australia

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Chinese car maker JAC is launching an electric and a diesel dual-cab ute in Australia over the next 18 months, with sharp pricing and plentiful equipment on the short list.

JAC Motors has confirmed it will expand in Australia with the introduction of two new 4×4 dual-cab utes, both diesel and electric, and both made in China. The diesel JAC T9 ute will launch in Australia in June 2023, and the electric ute version will follow in Q2 2024.

NSW-based BLK Auto has been selected as the vehicle importer and distributor locally. The new models will launch in both Australia and New Zealand, with BLK Auto expanding its presence to a base in Auckland.

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The diesel JAC T9 is motivated by a 2.0-litre diesel turbo engine producing 125kW of power and 410Nm of torque through an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission. While the performance sits under most dual-cab 4×4 rivals, the braked towing capacity is a segment-expected 3500kg, while it uses a part-time four-wheel drive system, rear diff lock and has four disc brakes rather than a drum-brake rear.

Dimensionally, the T9 is 5330mm long, 1965mm wide and 1920mm high, while its wheelbase spans 3110mm. For comparison, the new Ford Ranger is 5370mm long, 1918mm wide, 1884mm high, and has a 3270mm wheelbase.

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The JAC dual-cab ute is currently only sold in China, meaning Australia and New Zealand will be the first markets outside of the country where the ute is sold.

Pricing is expected to be comparable to the GWM Canon and LDV T60 utes, both from China too, and priced at around $45,000 driveaway mark.

JAC’s electric dual-cab ute has not yet been detailed, and its only competitor in Australia right now is the LDV eT60, which has been poorly received due to its high price (at over $90,000), rear-wheel drive only layout and lack-luster work performance.

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BLK Auto Managing Director Jason Pecotic said the aim is to establish a comprehensive dealer network across Australia and New Zealand, and this should be booned by the huge popularity of dual-cab utes in Australia and JAC’s existing dealer network for its electric N55 truck.

“Australia’s best-selling vehicles overall are the Toyota Hi-Lux and the Ford Ranger – pickup trucks are incredibly popular at the moment,” said Pecotic.

“This segment is huge, it’s about 180,000 units per year. But many buyers face a long wait to buy a pickup, so we expect the JAC T9 to be an extremely attractive alternative at a more affordable price point.

“The JAC pickup range will complement the existing electric truck offering from JAC and provide our dealer network with a new option to market.

“By the end of 2023 we will be importing three models of JAC electric trucks, and the two JAC pickup models will significantly add to the product range and help us grow our dealer network by giving our dealers more products to sell.”

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As per Chinese utes in the segment, the JAC T9 is packed with equipment such as heated power-adjustable seats, climate control, a 10.4-inch touchscreen entertainment system offering Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity, wireless phone charging, active cruise control, and a 360° Around View camera.

As for safety, Pecotic said JAC is aiming for a 5-star ANCAP safety rating for the T9, with safety features including seven airbags, an electronic stability program, a tyre pressure monitoring system, hill descent control, lane departure warnings and lane keeping assist, blind spot detections, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking all packed in.

Further details will be announced leading up to the JAC T9’s June 2023 launch, including pricing and specifications.

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