BAIC Motors is a subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned automobile company BAIC Group. Beijing Motors, also known as BAIC Motors, came into being in 2010, producing vehicles in multiple segments like sedans, crossovers, and SUVs. The “BJ” suffix, short for BeiJing, is typically used by the company for their Sports Utility vehicle with a concentration on the off-road capabilities & number of cars available from the brand, specifically BAIC BJ40 Plus.
BAIC and BJ names will be familiar to you in Pakistan because Sazgar Engineering has the exclusive rights to assemble BAIC models in Pakistan. Yes! Sazgar Engineering is the same company producing Haval ( Great Wall Motors) crossover models in Pakistan. It’s interesting to note that BAIC and Great Wall Motors compete in China. Sazgar Engineering has introduced just one model in the shape of locally assembled BAIC BJ40, and commercial sales have been active since October 2021. Please be aware that BJ40 has nothing to do with the Toyota BJ40 series, an iconic SUV.
The first generation of BJ40 went into production in 2013, and since then, multiple variants/configurations have been launched. The model is available in 2-door or 4-door variants known as BJ40L. BJ40 got a facelift in 2019, and the BJ40L name was changed to BJ40 Plus. Besides China and Pakistan, BJ40 is available in Middle Eastern, African, and limited European markets like Italy.
New BAIC BJ40
Back in China, BJ40 had a good market share, especially among off-roading enthusiasts, but with the introduction of models from competitors, it was losing its hype. The model is almost a decade old, and although it got some styling updates in & out over the years, BAIC started working on a replacement.
news became official recently when the company released the images for the upcoming 2nd generation of BJ40, and it’s a complete departure from the first generation. BAIC has yet to release any technical details, features, and equipment besides images.
The exterior of the first-generation BJ40 seems to be a copy-paste interpretation of the Jeep Wrangler, but that definition will change now as the replacement model is all-new and revolutionary. The model adopted a rectangular approach on the front with a flat hood and a horizontal shut line above the upright grill.
A slim rectangular slated front grille carries the equally spaced vertical lines creating section. There are dual slim LED headlight modules, while the entire grill parameter edge has segmented DRL. The front bumper is also a rectangular profile with a slim section, integrated LED fog lights, and a skid plate.
With squarish body panels on the side profile, a semi-rounded but horizontally aligned charter line can be seen on the upper portion of doors, which continues from front to rear. The doors are now without exposed hinges, as seen in the previous generation, and now it also uses standard pull-type door handles.
Wide and pultruding wheel arches with plastic cladding, LED lights, and bigger side-view mirrors give it a true off-road character. There will be frame-less doors, while the D-pillar glass panel gets a satin silver trim around it. The rear receives the new vertical rectangular LED taillight with two square segments. The tailgate is divided into two portions, with the glass panel open upwards while the lower solid portion swing outwards with the spare wheel attached in a typical fashion.
There are newly designed alloy wheels, and depending upon trim, the wheel sizes can be 265/65R17, 265/65R18, or 275/50R20 with all-terrain tires. The 2nd generation is 4790mm long, 1940mm wide, and has a wheelbase of 2760mm. This makes it approximately 145mm longer, 15mm wider, and 15mm longer in wheelbase. Overall the exterior is for sure pleasing & attractive with modern styling, although the reader might find some Land Rover Defender vibes.
Like the exterior, the interior is also revamped. While Jeep Wrangler influenced the previous generation’s exterior, the interior took design clues from Mercedes Benz. The new dashboard layout on the 2nd generation looks modern and sophisticated with an aluminum-type trim around the dashboard, which is horizontal, flat, and rectangularly shaped like the front.
A fully digital driver cockpit and a new steering wheel seem impressive from the Mercedes G-Wagon, especially the steering wheel controls. The most striking element on the interior is a huge panoramic floating infotainment screen in two sections that continues to the passenger side. Big grab handles on the A-pillar and large AC vents give an impression of a typical off-roader.
The new model will keep its body on frame chassis like the first generation. All details are unavailable, but it is expected that it is the same chassis with improvements and upgrades, including improved stiffness and torsional rigidity. The model will carry over double wishbone coil spring independent suspension on the front while multilink (5 links) independent coil spring setup on the rear. Electric power steering is expected instead of hydraulic for the new model.
As per available information, the upcoming model will be available with a new 2.0L (1967cc) turbocharged petrol engine with engine code HY4C20C. This engine is rated at 241HP and 385NM of torque. This makes it more powerful and torquey comparing the previous generation’s 2.0L turbo or even the 2.3L turbo variant. The first generation was using a decade-old engine technology from SAAB, a discontinued European brand, and it was not very fuel efficient. The new engine is expected to overcome the shortcomings.
Because BJ40 is designed for off-road adventures, the model will have a 4WD setup with a differential lock. Driver-selectable terrain mode will be available with multiple settings, which can be changed with the help of the rotary dial on the central console. The new model will also be equipped with a new 8-speed automatic transmission. Some of the available features are ABS, EPB, Tire pressure monitoring, hill start, and decent control. The model will also be capable of towing approximately 2.5 Tons of trailer.
Launch of BAIC BJ40
BAIC will be releasing the new model on 25th August in China, and at that point, we will cover it again with more details, including features, options, and equipment. I am sure the next question will be when we will have this model in Pakistan. Well, like always, we should not expect replacement in our country very soon.
Our current PK model went into production only two years ago, and it still has some life left in our domestic market. The company invested heavily to produce the current model for the Pakistani market, and changing over to the new generation requires time, resources, and investment. The current poor economic crisis with high interest & exchange rates in the country only adds to the equation. We hope things recover and our auto industry goes back to normal.