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Old 12-20-2006, 05:33 PM   #4
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ZXAuto's Landmark beckons Bruneians

Arfa'eza A Aziz


CHINA-made cars have yet to make a name and reputation on par with those bearing American, European, Japanese or even late-comer Korean brands. While there are already plenty of cars being assembled in China, it is still a hard sell to market Chinese branded cars.

This, however, did not deter one of Brunei Darussalam's major car distributors, GHK Motors Sdn Bhd, to take up the challenge by introducing a China-made car under the badge of ZXAuto.

The company launched last Friday the ZXAuto Landmark, a seven-seater sports utility vehicle (SUV) powered by a 2.4 litre petrol engine.

Apart from competing with the big guns that have been churning state-of-the-art SUVs in the past years, news reports questioning the quality of China-made cars have made it an uphill battle for them.

Despite this, judging from the good turn-out at Landmark' official launch at GHK's showroom in Beribi, Bruneians proved themselves to be an objective lot.

The Landmark aims to bring the driver and passengers a limousine-like comfortable feeling, and claim to have the design of Landmark that surpasses the present standards.

ZXAuto also claims that Landmark adopts the most advanced international vehicle design idea and is developed jointly by some famous international R&D institutions of Europe and Japan.

This can be seen from the design of the vehicle, chassis and inner trimmings to the supply of spare parts including nine CBU design patents.

If you are worried about its quality make, you can be assured by the fact that its key parts are from international famous brands such as Delphi, Valeo and Siemens.

In fact, 70 per cent of its CBU parts are from the supply system of Volkswagen and General Motors.

This makes the Landmark on the same level with international brand SUVs in quality and performance.

Under the hood, the inline, four-cylinder 2,351cc 4G64 engine is provided by none other than Mitsubishi.

This was exactly the reason why GHK accepted offers from Hebei Zhongxing Automobile Manufacturer Co Ltd to market Landmark here.

The engine produces 127 horsepower (hp) of power at 4,200 to 5,250 revolution per minute (rpm). There is also a diesel engine available although not marketed here as yet.

The petrol engine is claimed to have a fuel efficiency of 11 litres per 100 kilometres or it can go nine kilometres per litre of fuel.

As for the diesel engine, its fuel efficiency is 7.5 litres for 100 kilometres.

"The model sold here uses a five-speed manual transmission and two-wheel drive or 4x2 configuration," GHK's technical trainer Robert C Mosqueda told The Brunei Times.

"Brunei's road network is generally good so we don't really need a four-wheel drive system," he said. "But of course we can provide if there is demand here."

Mosqueda also said that while most people loved to drive cars with automatic transmission, driving a manual gave the driver more control and feel.

"If there is enough demand, we will also provide the automatic models."

Each Landmark is equipped with electronic dual air bags for the driver and front seat passenger. Its ABS brake system keeps effective steering performance and shortens the braking distance by controlling all four wheels.

It also uses the original Delphi module which passes the US safety demarcation.

Moreover, the usual complaints of back passengers not feeling the air conditioning would not arise in the Landmark as it has independent air-cond vents for front and rear.

Its car stereo system is equipped with Siemen's VDO that promises great power and elegancy as well as perfect tone.

Now that we have given all the promotional bits, what does the Landmark really have to offer?

Few would disagree that its $28,800 price tag would cause a beeline of interested motorists to buy the SUV.

Looking at the model from the outside, one would never guess that such a handsome SUV able to accommodate seven passengers would be cheaper that the five-seater Daihatsu Terios which costs just under $30,000.
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