HAVAL has flagged plans to roll out a trade ute based on the same chassis as the H9 SUV, the company has revealed.
Haval Australia national marketing manager Tim Smith told 4X4 Australia that the brand’s parent company, Great Wall Motors, was looking at rolling out a more premium trade ute based on the H9’s chassis.
However, Smith said the Haval-based ute would be shorter than the 5345mm-long Great Wall Steed launched in Australia this week. By comparison, the H9 is only 4856mm in length, and sits on a 2800mm wheelbase compared with the Steed’s 3200mm. That points to the Haval-badged version sticking to a single-cab format rather than rolling out a more buyer friendly dual-cab version.
One thing Haval has the potential to do is to lift the traditional trade ute’s interior to a whole new level. The ute is expected to adapt the same interior features as the Ford Territory-rivalling Haval H7 SUV that will arrive in Australia next year, and that will be rolled out to the Toyota Kluger-fighting H8 and the H9 mid-way through next year.
That includes a full digital dashboard – which is shaping up to be a first for the segment if the Mercedes-Benz-fettled version of the Nissan Navara doesn’t beat it to the punch – and a raft of car-like driver aids including active cruise control, lane diversion and blind spot monitors, and even automatic city braking.
The popularity of trade utes, particularly among private buyers, is continuing to grow in Australia, and now account for almost one in five new-car sales – a fact not lost on Haval’s Australian management.
Haval’s current line-up only uses petrol engines, hinting that the H9-based ute will follow a similar line and potentially feature a turbocharged 2.0-litre engine producing around 145kW.
It is also expected to adopt a new BorgWarner transfer box for its all-wheel-drive system, mimicking the same new set-up rolled out in the Great Wall Steed.
The Toyota Fortuner/Mitsubishi Pajero Sport-rivalling H9 is the only Haval-badged SUV to be built on a more truck-like ladder frame chassis.