A COLLEAGUE from one of South Africa’s daily newspaper uttered “this launch is colourful” as Haval Motors South Africa (HMSA) finally unveiled its local version of its new Great Wall Motors (GWM) P Series bakkie.
The comment, follows the overnight stay at Silverstar Casino in Krugersdorp, were a host of motoring journos and influencers spend the “colourful” evening, without being asked what are you wearing or what pet have you got in your bag (you catch my drift, mos)?
Usually at media launches loads of technicalities and protocols are adhered but Vaughan Swanepoel (head of PR and Marketing HMSA) and team decided to break the code and let the goose to play…ahem!
Early morning of the following day, off we headed to Haartebeesport for the official launch, upon arrival the latest Great Wall Motors (GWM) P Series bakkies were unheralded to members of the Corps, as the scorching heat took over.
‘Made in China’ by virtue of being a Chinese brand, has made significant improvement with the latest P- Series pick up- a hefty range consisting of 16 distinct variants.
HMSA confirmed it has sold more than 50 000 GWM bakkies in the local market since 2007, with a market share in this popular segment of around 2%.
The new P Series launch sees the introduction of two versions of the pickup in South Africa – commercial and passenger.
The double cab is available in both versions, but the single cab is only available as a commercial version.
After following strict Covid-19 regulations – sanitizing and keeping a distance -a whole day hymn- we played with the trucks available in six colour variants.
Crash bags feature on all models and vary from two on base models up to seven in the top specification, while vehicle stability and traction control is standard across the range as well as hill hold assist.
Park distance control is standard on all models and, moving upward in the range it changes from reverse camera to a full 360 view in the flagship.
The all-new P Series uses an Armour system body design as well as a high strength ladder frame, which together create improved torsional and bending stiffness.
Convenience and value-added items are also in abundance in the form of a damped rear tailgate, an exclusive rear step that integrates into the tailgate, a standard plastic bed liner, and a standard roll bar on certain models.
The P Series is “jampacked” with technology, including auto cruise control, self-adaptive cruise control and smart cruise control support, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and traffic sign recognition.
This list also includes a seven-inch LCD virtual instrument cluster, intelligent voice control, remote startup, a nine-inch multimedia screen, Android and Apple Car play, as well as wireless phone charging, according to HMSA.
P-Series is bigger than ‘traditional’ bakkies such as Isuzu D-Max, Hilux and Ranger.
As we tested both bakkies it showed it had plenty of ability to master the course with little effort on dirt or off-road but on road it was a bit too rigid and stiff.
The vehicle was unladen, so that might change with a full load on the back. In terms of the engine, the 2.0-litre turbo-diesel provides ample power in the middle and upper reaches of the rev range, lacking a little under 2000rpm.
The P Series will only be available with a 2 l turbo diesel engine in South Africa, with the powerplant delivering 120 kW of power and 400 Nm of torque.
Pricing for the single cab commercial model starts at R339 900, including VAT.
R369 900 for the double cab commercial version.
The passenger double cab range starts at R434 900.
HMSA offers a five-year/100 000 km warranty on the vehicle, as well as a five-year/100 000 km service plan.
To wrap up the day, we headed off to a Moutainous lodge since we were in awe of hills and mountains of our beautiful North West province for a succulent lunch, as ‘Mapholobo’ Njabulo Ngcobo’s clan name, kept raving on about “colourful launch” that caught the attention of influencer Dr Musa Mthombeni, who kept asking for more details to ‘prescribe whatever that needed prescription’ ahem.
Image Mdu MPHAHLELE (The all new P- Series bakkie- an exclusive rear step that integrates into the tailgate- launched at Haartebeespoort, North West province).