Geely, GM Venture Jump into China’s Pickup Truck Market
China’s emerging pickup truck market is gaining two more competitors.
Geely unveiled its first pickup truck last week and it erecting a factory in Zibo to make 100,000 vehicles, including trucks, per year.
Separately, a venture involving General Motors, SAIC and Guangxi Automobile has filed for permission to build its first pickup, to be called the Zhengtu, Reuters reports.
Great Wall P-series pickup (Image: Great Wall Motor)
Pickup trucks remain relatively rare in China. Sales in January-July this year totaled about 251,000 units, representing only 2% of the passenger car market, according to the China Assn. of Automobile Manufacturers.
The segment currently is dominated by Great Wall Motor, which has been making pickups since 1996. Its trucks also are exported to Africa, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America.
Great Wall says its domestic sales of its truck jumped 38% through the first seven months of 2020, even as China’s demand for SUV/crossovers and sedans was shrinking.
Last year GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles sought to test consumer interest for their trucks by showing off their homegrown pickups at an import expo in Shanghai. Ford already sells small volumes of U.S.-built F-Series and Ranger pickups. The company also makes the locally designed Yuhu-brand pickup with partner Jiangling Motors.
Producers say China isn’t likely to experience a U.S.-like mania for pickups until restrictions on driving them in urban areas are lifted in more cities.
For now, the China Passenger Car Assn. tells Reuters, there is little demand for pickups from “normal” Chinese customers.
As Sunday will be the Super Bowl, there will undoubtedly be plenty of automotive commercials before, during and after the game, many of which focus on pickup trucks, because the ad agencies who work for the various OEMs have done deep demographic research that indicates that people who like football like trucks and vice versa. (We’ve always been a fan of the 1998 Nissan Frontier commercial that told us “Dogs like trucks.”) Anyway. . .there is one tough pickup truck that won’t be part of the festival of ads on Sunday because it is for a product that isn’t available in the U.S., the Volkswagen Amarok.
Although used-car shopping is something that we don’t ordinarily cover, this is a bit too, well, bizarre to overlook: The Carvana Car Vending Machine.
While the whole notion of minivans might provoke an involuntary eye roll among some people, here’s an interesting fact: so far this year, through the end of March, Chrysler delivered 31,616 Town & Country minivans, which makes it, by far, the biggest selling vehicle in the brand’s showroom.