MOTORING NEWS - Pickups or bakkies are nothing new to the Chinese auto industry giant, Great Wall Motor Corporation. Not even millennials will know that GWM pickups have been in exitance since the GWM Deer way back in 1996 and have been the leaders in Chinese Bakkie manufacturing ever since. 1 in 2 pickups in China is a GWM and Great Wall Motors has held the number one spot in that market for 22years!
Fast forward a bit to the tune of say, 30 years and you will recall the Shanghai Auto show where a truly global, a truly ground-breaking technological leap of bakkie development occurred. Yes, you guessed it, it was the first appearance of the all new, all conquering GWM P Series. The prototypes shown at the show were well, just that, protypes, but they promised great things. Ergonomics for a new world, technology, safety and luxury like few brands have perfected, a truly omni-roll vehicle that could wear many hats.
But to know where one is going, one needs to map the journey and make sure it’s worthwhile. Is bakkie business worthwhile? Well in China, GWM has held a market share of between 24% and 31% since 2010, but since the P series launch late in 2019, that figure jumped to 42% and then again to 54% in 2020 more than double its closest rival. In November alone over 10000 P Series bakkies were sold in China. In SA over 50 000 GWM bakkies have been sold since 2007 with a market share of around 2% annually. So, is the journey worth it? The answer is a resounding yes and based on these figures of growth and confidence in a Chinese market leading bakkie for two years in a row, the rest of the planet gets to enjoy this new masterpiece that is the P series.
The P Series is described in South Africa by one simple word of more. More? Yes, more. More space, more design appeal, more intelligent technologies, more luxury, comfort and convenience, more quality, more durability, more reliability and more safety.
Can it be so much more? Well for starters, there are two versions of P Series, namely Commercial and Passenger. Double cab is available in both versions, but single cab is only available as a commercial version. There are also both manual and automatic transmissions available in all version except the single cabs, which only utilize manual transmission versions. In total, there are 16 version of P series on offer in South Africa with 10 very attractive specification lists, these “all scene mates” are literally jam packed with technology and gadgets.
Available in six colour variants there is a P Series to match your lifestyle as well as your taste. The attention to detail with everything that is the P-series is top drawer, the headlights resembling that of panther eyes, ready to pounce. The taillights matching this elegance and the grill matching the belt of a championship fighter, this bakkie means business with an aggressive stance that pitches it head on with a market that is fiercely contested especially in the looks area.
When sliding yourself into the cockpit of the beast it’s easy to notice that the interior is so much more than just a bakkie. The plush interior is more like something you would see in a high end model of the Haval SUV range rather than a bakkie, but your eyes haven’t deceived you, Slush-moulding instrument board, Leather seats, Leather door panels with matching cross pattern themes and steel trim inserts make the inside of this all action, no talk bakkie a beauty to behold. The space is at a level that is coachlike with room for four to five occupants in safety and comfort.
More intelligent technologies? Yes. The P Series is jam packed with tech. This smart bakkie features an Intelligent driving assist system made up of a Full-speed Auto Cruise Control, self-adaptive cruise control & smart cruise control support, AEB- Automatic Emergency Brake, Lane-keeping assistance, TSR or traffic sign recognition. Even the cockpit and controls of this bakkie are more. More user friendly and more technology through using a 7 inch LCD virtual instrument cluster, intelligent voice control, remote start up, a 9 inch multimedia screen, Android and Apple Car play as well as wireless phone charging and that’s just some of the features within the cabin.
The entire range of P series bakkies as high levels of safety, more safety than any previous GWM pick up. Airbags feature on all models and vary from 2 airbags on base models up to 7 airbags in the top specification. 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 as you go up in the range you go from reverse camera to a full 360 view in the higher spec. Electrically adjustable seats are not the only thing that gives charge to the interior, the whole vehicle is equipped with 3USB as well as a 220V power supply and 12V power supply.
The all new P Series offers More Quality, Durability and Reliability by utilising an Armour system body design as well as a High strength Ladder frame which together create Improved torsional & Bending stiffness. Convenience and value-added items are also in abundance in the form of a damped rear tailgate, an exclusive rear step which integrates into the tailgate, a standard plastic bedliner, and a standard roll bar on certain models.
4X4 derivatives of the P Series are capable off roaders featuring 232 mm of ground clearance as well as an entry angle and exit angle of 27 degrees and 25 degrees respectively. Borg Warner takes care of the TOD Intelligent all-wheel-drive system featuring 2H, Auto and 4L modes and various Off-road modes.
The P- Series will only be available in 2.0 Turbo Diesel in South africa, the powerplant delivers 120KW and 400 Nm of torque making for smooth driving and power when you need it. This product marks the first time that GWM will introduce Auto Transmission on a pickup and this being the ZF 8 Speed Auto gearbox. There are also 6 speed manual transmission versions available too.
The level of specification packed into every version of P Series is top drawer, customers will not be left wanting when it comes to level of choice offered. In every version there is more. That’s what makes the GWM P Series more than just a bakkie. An all scene partner. A companion. Not just another bakkie.