Home » The Jac T9 Is The Kind Of Cheap Chinese Truck America Would Get If Tariffs Didn’t Exist

The Jac T9 Is The Kind Of Cheap Chinese Truck America Would Get If Tariffs Didn’t Exist

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When local automakers fled Australia in 2017, car-based utes died and mid-sized pickups took over. Now, it seems like everyone wants a piece of the action in Australia’s truck market, with large American imports flooding in and cheap Chinese options fighting for the bottom dollar. The Jac T9 is the latest rig on the Aussie scene, and it’s firmly aimed at the budget market. It’s becoming a crowded space with a number of homely options on the market.

If you haven’t heard of Jac, well … neither had I. It’s a smaller automaker from China, having produced 592,500 vehicles in 2023. The company produces a great proportion of vehicles for export. It also runs an operation in China in partnership with Volkswagen and produces vehicles for Nio as well.

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The company has actually been producing the T9 for some time, sold as the JAC Hunter in China since 2021. It’s been slated for an Australian release for some time, with the pickup finally heading to Australian shores in 2024.

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The T9 will first be available in Australia as a four-wheel-drive model with a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine with 167 horsepower (125 kW) and 302 pound-feet (410 Nm) of torque. As a guide, that’s line ball with what you’d get on a base model Ford Ranger in Australia, but well below the optional bi-turbo or V6 models. Jac quotes a single fuel economy figure of 30 mpg (7.6 L/100 km) without clarifying whether that’s for city, highway, or combined use.

Payload is rated at 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg), slightly beneath big-name rivals like the Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger. Towing capacity is typical for the class though, sitting at 7,700 pounds (3,500 kg).

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Where the T9 really competes is on price. It’s hitting the market at $42,662 AUD ($27,854 USD) for the Oasis base model. The higher-trim Haven model will set you back $45,630 AUD ($29,794 USD). Compare that to the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi Triton, and Ford Ranger, which start at well over $50,000 for the cheapest four-door, four-wheel-drive configuration.

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Nobody would judge you for wanting to stick with a bigger brand. Maybe you want peace of mind when it comes to warranty, service, and parts. Or maybe you just want a truck that you’re not embarrassed to stand next to in the parking lot. The Jac T9 has a kind of weird, off-kilter look. It’s as if someone stuck a random plastic front end from a different truck onto a poorly styled body. Adrian could explain it better than I.

Credit where it’s due, though, Jac didn’t get everything wrong. The tailgate has “JAC” stamped into it in big letters, so that gets a tick. The interior also looks pretty good, though I’d want to see if the fit and finish are up to snuff in person before committing to a solid opinion.

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So far, we know the T9 is kind of cheap and kind of ugly. It won’t be the cheapest thing on the market, though, nor the ugliest. 4×2 pickups can still be had at a cheaper price, of course.

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Beyond that, the GMW Cannon and SsangYong Musso are similarly ugly bargain-basement options that should still undercut the T9.

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The SsangYong Musso.

 

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The GWM Cannon. It wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t for that giant emblem.

If you really have zero fashion sense, you could always spring for a Mahindra PiKUp, though. Barely changed from its Australian launch in 2009, it starts at a whisker under $40,000 AUD ($26,000 USD) before on-road costs. It only just got an automatic transmission in the last couple of years. It’s so hideous I’ve never seen one in real life.

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The  Mahindra PiKUp, estimated resale value: three bucks. Even with the bullbar, it still looks like a wet bag of hammers.

You might think cheap work vehicles make sense, whatever they look like. However, tradies in Australia are often doing pretty well for themselves, and they’re by no means ignorant of fashion. A nice truck is a status symbol, and a cheap import from a dodgy brand can quickly become a joke on the job site. There’s also a reluctance to take a punt on an unknown brand. An unreliable truck makes for an unreliable tradesperson, and a missed job or two can quickly hurt the bottom line.

As much as I tease the aesthetics, it’s likely a capable truck. You’d expect most of the bugs are sorted, as well, given the truck has been on sale in China for some time now. Australia has been open to Chinese imports for a long time, unlike in the United States where the chicken tax and anti-Chinese tariffs keep affordable machines like the Jac T9 away from consumers. In any case, I wish Jac all the best as they enter the Australian market. If you’re lucky, and you finish your oil change, I might even try and review one before the year’s out.

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Image credits: Jac

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WM
WM
25 days ago

The Mahindra would be a compelling option if it didn’t look so goofy. I bought a lightly second hand Hilux last year and I promised myself not to test drive the Mahindra just in case it might actually be good!

The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
The F--kshambolic Cretinoid Harvey Park
25 days ago

JAC stands for Jolly Australian Cnuts. They’re like t-nuts but c-shaped.

Lewin, I dunno if you get feedback from your corporate overlords, but your articles are dope.

FlavouredMilk
FlavouredMilk
26 days ago

Yet another subpar ute for independent contractors to cut me off in on the highway, cool.

JAC of all trades, master of none.

Is Travis
Is Travis
26 days ago

That The Mahindra PiKUp looks friggin awesome, no further comment.

Laurence Rogers
Laurence Rogers
26 days ago

There’s quite a few single-cab Mahindras around Dubbo, doing the farm work that new Landcruisers are getting too expensive to perform.

A farming family I know has a fleet of Mahindras and their boys are quite rough on gear, yet haven’t been able to kill one!

There are a few GWM and LDV dual-cabs around here, but they aren’t generally being used for tradie stuff and more as a commuter vehicle.

If ever a ute needed a bullbar to fix its face, that JAC is certainly one of them.

Rod Millington
Rod Millington
26 days ago

I actually saw one of the Mahindras a few weeks ago and they are just so weird with their proportions. It’s hard to describe without being able to look at it in person.

Also the new Musso is a work of art compared to previous generations.

NosrednaNod
NosrednaNod
26 days ago

Good to see the “giant words on pickup trucks” trait has been translated to Mandarin.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
26 days ago

JAC? Really? I wonder if they’ll release a Mehoff model next year.

Myk El
Myk El
26 days ago

I remember when Mahindra was looking to bring their truck to the states. I saw one being tested in Colorado where I lived at the time. Not unusual for cars to be seen for testing out there, altitude and all that. I kinda liked it, but it was bigger than I had hoped and didn’t have the accessories the one pictured here has.

Alexk98
Alexk98
26 days ago

The GMW Cannon looks like a 2019 Tundra ordered off Temu

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