Chinese Pick-up Muscles in For Foothold in Lucrative Market

THE Malaysian pick-up market is not short of players but this has not stopped newcomers from vying for a slice of the lucrative action. Angka-Tan Motor Sdn Bhd is the latest to offer a new challenger – the JMC Vigus Pro from China - that it believes offers bold styling, outstanding versatility and unrivalled value in the one-tonne pick-up truck segment here.

And what better way to do that than with an attractive price that starts at RM98,888 in the peninsula on the road without insurance. Not surprisingly, Angka-Tan Motor sees the Vigus Pro representing a new value proposition among pick-up trucks sold in Malaysia. This confidence is boosted by its experience in promoting China-made vehicles that goes back a decade to 2011 when it introduced the Foton trucks and prime movers.

Vehicle buyers here are already warming up to made-in-China vehicles, especially the SUVs (sport utility vehicles) sold under the Proton badge. New respect for the Chinese brands is established with regard to quality build and high-tech engineering as well as performance. Now, it is a matter of winning buyers over with appealing aesthetics and a good service back-up and support.

Before we delve into what the JMC Vigus Pro is all about, let’s be acquainted with the company that produces this pick-up. Jiangling Motors Co, Ltd (JMC) is a subsidiary of the Jiangling Group – an automobile R&D, manufacturing and sales company based in Nanchang, the capital city of Jiangxi Province. JMC is the sixth largest commercial vehicle brand in China and its vehicle line-up includes light passenger vehicles, light trucks, pick-ups, SUVs and new energy vehicles.

In 2020, JMC’s annual sales volume reached 331,100 units in China. In the first half of 2021, JMC leads the light passenger vehicle segment and is the second best-selling brand in the pick-up segment in China. JMC is also said to be a major exporter of light commercial vehicles and has won numerous industry awards for its design and innovative technology.

In styling, the JMC Vigus Pro sets an aggressive tone with the front-end ‘mimicking the expression of a tiger on the prowl’. This bold road presence is aided by the large hexagonal grille with chrome inserts, slim headlamps and distinctive C-shape LED daytime running lights that also accentuate the front bumper profile.

The aggressive theme continues laterally with flared wheel arches in body colour and a prominent character line that runs from the front door to the 3D tail-lamps. The Vigus Pro is fitted with a sports bar featuring an integrated high-mount third brake lamp, side steps, auto-folding wing mirrors with LED indicators and two-tone 16-inch alloy wheels. Another rugged detail comes in the distinctive moulding on the lower tailgate that complements the sporty rear bumper, which has a step incorporated to ease access to the cargo bed.

Premium engineering
Powering the Vigus Pro is an ‘advanced’ 2.0-litre turbocharged Puma diesel engine featuring a high-pressure common-rail fuel injection system, variable geometry turbocharger, intercooler and EGR cooler bypass valve. Output is respectable at 103.6kW (141PS) at 3600rpm and 340Nm from 1500rpm to 2600rpm.

The turbodiesel engine is mated to an eight-speed ZF automatic that is noted for its smooth performance and efficiency; a transmission similar to that preferred by many luxury car brands. In the Vigus Pro, the eight-speed automatic is operated through an electronic gear selector with manual shift mode function. This refined powertrain is said to return an ‘excellent’ fuel consumption of 7.8L/100km (12.8km/l) (UNECE R101) that positions it well among the most fuel efficient one-tonne pick-up trucks currently sold in Malaysia.

To ensure stability on various challenging surfaces, the Vigus Pro is built on a robust ladder frame capable of a maximum load of 850kg; understandably, the rigid structure is also designed to absorb impact forces in a crash. The front suspension is a fully-independent double-wishbone type with reinforced stabiliser bar while the rear rests on a solid axle with leaf springs for ‘superior’ load-bearing capability and durability.

Off-road, the Vigus Pro performance is governed by a 4WD system developed by BorgWarner and users could select 2WD, 4WD and low-range 4WD modes via a rotary dial for the respective terrain. The rear axle is also fitted with an Eaton limited-slip differential lock to channel torque to the wheel with superior traction when wheel slippage is encountered.

Additionally, the Vigus Pro is equipped with Hill Descent Control that modulates vehicle braking when going downhill on steep slopes (up to 8km/h) and allows the driver to focus on manoeuvring the truck. Other standard features are Hill Start Assist, ABS with Electronic Brake-Force Distribution and Electronic Stability Program with Traction Control.   

Stepping inside, the Vigus Pro is likened to a car’s interior being equipped with all the modern amenities and conveniences such as a multi-functional steering wheel with controls for the infotainment system, cruise control and voice calls via Bluetooth connection. The leather-wrapped two-spoke design wheel also comes with gearshift paddles for a sporty touch.

The Vigus Pro is fitted with an infotainment system showcasing an 8-inch colour touch-screen, Bluetooth connectivity, MP5 video playback and reverse camera. Other standard amenities include powered side mirrors with heating function and folding feature via the remote control.

Local scenario
The JMC Vigus Pro is locally assembled at the Tan Chong Motor plant in Serendah, Selangor and is available for viewing and test drive at 13 ATM dealerships across the nation with a network of 13 aftersales services workshops. It is available in one variant with four colour options – Steady Brown, Solid White, Brilliant Silver and Glossy Black. Every vehicle comes with a 3-year or100,000km warranty. Mayflower Car Rental Sdn Bhd, a company under the Tan Chong Group, is the pilot fleet customer with an initial order of 30 units.

Tan Keng Meng, CEO of Warisan TC Holdings Bhd and Executive Director of Angka-Tan Motor said: “The JMC Vigus Pro is a stylish and versatile pick-up truck developed with premium engineering. Whether it’s for work or play, the Vigus Pro is ready to meet the demanding requirements of pick-up truck users in Malaysia after proving itself as the second best-selling pick-up truck in the Chinese market. The past 18 months has been a challenging period for everyone and we are grateful for the co-operation and support accorded to us by Jiangling Motors Company (JMC) as well as Tan Chong Group in making this a reality.” - LPS

Link here
JMC Brochure Final.pdf.
VigusPro Factsheet-Final.pdf