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JAC Motors Celebrates 60 Years

by Media

June 20, 2024
Category: Reviews

REVIEW BY: Auto Trader | AUTHOR: Sean Nurse

Original Article Link: https://bit.ly/4bSdfv9

We recently attended our first-ever JAC Motors event, where the Chinese brand is celebrating 60 years since it was first established. We had a chance to drive its new T9 and learn about the brand’s plans in SA!

JAC Motors, also known as Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Group Corp Ltd, was founded in China in 1964 and introduced to the South African market in 2017. It is a far more established automotive marque than many think. The Chinese manufacturer recently invited us to its 60th-anniversary celebrations in Gauteng, where it displayed its double-cab bakkie range and other light and medium commercial vehicles. We had a chance to drive the flagship T9 double cab and learned about the brand’s plans for future introductions to the local market.

Related: JAC adds budget-friendly double cab to its range

Technical partnerships

JAC has entered into various technical partnerships, the most prominent of which is with Volkswagen, where it has a joint venture to produce electric vehicles with the German brand badged as Seats. The brand is also an OEM for the all-electric Chinese brand Nio. At the same time, commercial vehicle engine specialists Cummins also have a 50:50 joint venture with JMC, with Cummins having purchased Navistar’s 50% equity of the JAC-Navistar Diesel Engine Company (JND) in 2018.

Double cab range

JAC has a rather compelling range of T-Series double cab bakkies. At the entry point is the T6, an older model with a 2.8-litre turbodiesel motor originating from Isuzu, with either a 5-speed manual for the 4×2 or a 6-speed manual for the 4×4 variant.  The engine produces just 68kW and 210Nm, with pricing starting from R379 900 for the 4×2 and R429 900 for the 4×4 model. The T6 range offers a braked towing capacity of 2 000kg, with fuel consumption claimed at 7.9 L/100km. Pricing includes a 5-year/100 000km warranty and a 5-year/100 000km service plan.

The T8 is the brand’s mid-tier double-cab bakkie. It features a 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine that produces 103kW and 320Nm of torque, which is sent to either the rear or all four wheels, depending on the variant, via a six-speed manual gearbox. The T8 is a more feature-laden model than the T6, but also offers a 2 000kg braked towing capacity and a claimed fuel consumption figure of 7.8 L/100km. The range price starts at R399 900 and goes to R514 900 for the flagship 4×4 Super Luxury, and includes a 5-year/100 000km warranty and 5-year/100 000km service plan.

The flagship, and indeed the most exciting JAC product at the moment, from a local context, is the T9. It is a thoroughly modern double cab with a price tag that should secure many local buyers! Powering the range is a 125kW/410Nm 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine paired with a ZF 8-speed automatic gearbox that sends power and torque to either the rear or all four wheels. Claimed fuel consumption is claimed at 7.8 L/100km

The T9 models’ key figures are strong: a braked towing capacity of 3,500 kg, a ground clearance of 210mm, a wading depth of 800mm, and approach, breakover, and departure angles of 27, 23, and 23 degrees, respectively. Pricing for the range starts at R549 900 and goes up to R659 900, and includes a 5-year/100 000km warranty and 5-year/100 000km service plan.

New models on the way

The brand outlined its new plans at the event, including a single-cab derivative of the T6 model and a ladder-frame SUV based on the T9 bakkie. These products are expected to be as well priced as the rest of the range and will offer compelling options within the market.

Driving T9

During the event, we had a chance to drive the flagship T9, and the 25km-or-so route was illuminating. It revealed a refined, well-made bakkie that is packed with features. A stand-out with this model is how responsive the diesel motor is and how slick that ZF gearbox is, and while the throttle calibration is incredibly sharp, a trait shared by many products originating from China of late, there’s no denying that there’s a sense of urgency from the powertrain which is lacking in other bakkies we’ve tested of late. The infotainment system is a portrait-style unit, like that seen in the new Ranger, and features solid resolution along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

Considering the fact that there are features one might expect in a bakkie costing two or three hundred thousand rand more in the flagship Super Lux, potential customers will be impressed. The biggest question, as is the case with all new brands coming into the local market, longevity and reliability are questions that need to be answered, but we’ll be spending some time in the products soon. We should have a better picture of things in the coming months.

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