China enters UK market with mighty Steed

The first volume production Chinese vehicle to go on sale in the UK has arrived. The Steed pick-up truck by the Great Wall Motor Company costs from just £14,000 - and is likely to be the first of a raft of budget Chinese cars to hit the UK.

Obviously, Chinese owned MG is selling cars in the UK, but this is the first explicitly Chinese brand to come to market.
Great Wall is one of the biggest car manufacturers in the Chinese market, but it comes to the UK battling against a largely negative perception of Chinese cars - based in part on crash test videos like the one below.

But the company promises that the Steed is "luxuriously appointed" and that "no similarly priced pick-up on sale in the UK will rival its impressive tally of standard equipment."

The sales and service network already boasts 40 locations, meaning Great Wall can promise a "buying and ownership rewarding and trouble-free as possible."

The company says dealers will pick up and drop off a Steed when its service is due, and it comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty.

On the costs front, the Steed has the lowest insurance rating of any five-seat pick-up on the market, and the one available engine, a 2.0-litre diesel, offers a reasonable 34mpg.

No images of the interior yet, so we're unable to see whether the plastics are shinier than Elton John's relaxation shell suit, but equipment is fairly generous. The basic S car gets 16-inch alloys, daytime running lights, electric windows all around, air con, heated front seats and a wipe clean leather interior.

Great Wall says the Steed is brilliant off-road too, but then it would say that. It bodes well, though, because it has a low-range gearbox and an on demand four-wheel drive system. The chassis is a ladder frame.

The company sells around 100,000 Steeds in China every year - about the same number of Fiestas Ford sold in the UK in 2011.

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