Great Wall's Australian distributors Ateco Automotive have issued a recall notice for the brand's V200 utes, in which the position of a bracket in the engine bay means the wiring harness can rub against the bottom of the radiator, wearing through the wiring insulation. The defect can prevent the vehicle from properly earthing, which can cause the alternator dash light to activate, the battery to go flat, and the wiring to melt.
The problem affects 9134 of the Great Wall V200 2.0-litre turbodiesel utes, which have been something of a price leader in the segment, starting at $22,990. The recall affects both both rear-wheel and 4WD versions. However the defect does not affect the largely mechanically identical X200 SUV, as while it uses the same drivetrain it has a different wiring harness bracket.
The safety recall affects all model years of the Great Wall V200s sold since they first arrived in 2011. According to official VFACTS figures, Great Wall sold 2667 of the V200 in 2013, 4793 in 2012, and 1170 when it first appeared in 2011, for a total of 8630 to the end of 2013. The remaining 533 have either been sold during the first weeks of January or are still sitting in dealers' stock.
Ateco is sending a letter to all affected customers, advising them to contact their nearest authorised dealer and have their ute inspected and the problem rectified.
Great Wall spokesman Daniel Cotterill says the fix is a fairly minor job in most cases, and will not take up much of the owners' time.
"For most of the affected cars, what they have to do is inspect the bracket and if necessary adjust it to give extra clearance to the harness and components around it. On most of them it won't have even been rubbing, but the inspection and adjustment will take about 20 minutes," Cotterill says.
"On some of the vehicles, they will need to repair the wiring harness because it will have been rubbing, and that will take a total of 30 minutes for inspection and repair. On a very small minority -- we believe only about 30 vehicles of the 9134 recalled -- they might find the wire has been exposed and the insulation can't been repaired, and under those cirsumctances they need to replace the harness, which will take about two hours."
Cotterill says there have been no accidents associated with the defect. "The worst reported is some melted insulation, warning lights coming on, batteries not charging -- that sort of thing.