How the JAC T9 ute is being prepared to cope with Australian conditions

A successful battle with the bush has been used to help prepare the JAC J9 for its imminent arrival in Australia.

The off-road trip with six of the Chinese pickups, to Mount Disappointment north of Melbourne in the Victorian high country, was one of the final hurdles on the brand’s three-year road to local showrooms.

The development plan has also included calibration of everything from the J9’s suspension to its driver assistance systems, plus work on local accessories.

“JAC initiated the R&D process tailored for the Australian market three years prior, underscoring its commitment to thorough preparation and understanding of local requirements and preferences,” the deputy managing director of JAC Motors, Danny Lenartic, told CarExpert.

“Mount Disappointment was chosen to explore how the JAC T9 might be utilised by a weekend adventurer seeking to escape Melbourne’s bustling city life.

“Each test location is selected with careful consideration to simulate real-world scenarios and challenges.”

One of the J9 test vehicles has now covered more than 20,000 kilometres in various conditions, with other work including six additional J9s in top-level Oasis specification.

“This effort includes a thorough examination of durability testing, ensuring that changes being made to the vehicle align with local preferences and withstand the rigours of Australian conditions. Balancing innovation with timelines and resources is our biggest challenge,” Mr Lenartic said.

The team working on the vehicles includes engineers from JAC in China, engineering staff members of local importer LTS Auto, and contractors.

“Both parties are working in a continued partnership. (We) will continue to commit resources to focus on improving products to perform under Australian conditions and standards,” said Mr Lenartic.

“We’re continually gathering data. The recent experience at Mt Disappointment… emphasising our dedication to ensuring vehicles are well-equipped for diverse terrains.

“It’s all a work in progress. It also extends to some of the heavy-duty accessories which are also being developed and built locally.”

The test program began in the final quarter of last year and has been ramping up since then.

According to Mr Lenartic, JAC has put special emphasis on driver assistance systems – a common cause for complaints at other Chinese brands.

“From day one JAC have been committed to meet Australian road safety standards. By focusing on the correct calibration of these systems, we’re not only embracing cutting-edge technology, but also prioritising the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians,” he said.

Despite the extensive J9 test program, there is no update from JAC about other models for Australia, including the SUVs and passenger cars from the company’s extensive lineup at home in China.

“Our focus is on the T9 ute,” said Mr Lenartic.

But he did give a significant hint with news of the next step of JAC’s local development program involving more than just the J9.

“Looking ahead, similar programs will continue, underscoring our commitment and the importance we place on delivering durable and competitive vehicles for the evolving consumer needs,” he said.

“Future models are scheduled to arrive later this year.”

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