Facelift gives both versions a new nose; saloon new tail

Facelift gives both versions a new nose; saloon new tail

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A little over two years after starting sales in Brazil, JAC has completely revamped the front of its compact J3 hatchback and saloon sister known as J3 Turin here.

The saloon’s rear styling was also changed along with an extensive interior revamp. 

Despite this facelift, the Chinese are redesigning entirely the successor to the current line. According to the importer and future manufacturer of the brand in Brazil, no part will be carried over and the new car will be larger. Following the current trend, the entry level version will be powered by a three cylinder engine.

“Our US$500m plant in Camaçari, Bahia state, will be ready by the end of 2014 and sales are due to start early in the second quarter of 2015. The new J3 will be available in Europe in 2015 as well”, said Sergio Habib, president of Grupo SHC, which will take on two thirds of the total investment.

Habib makes no secret of his launch timescale, in contrast to automakers here who customarily suppress future product information of the type feared to lose sales.

This year SHC Group aims to selling about 25,000 units, which corresponds to the government's free quota for super-IPI excise tax exemption for brands intending to build factories in the country.

Ahead of the A pillar, all J3 parts have been redesigned: bumper, grille, headlamps, parking lamps, hood and fenders. In the J3 Turin, there's a horizontally-shaped ensemble at rear: each tail lamp is split between fender and deck. A new rear bumper features high-relief contours, completed by a central reflecting surface. Both versions are fitted with new alloy wheels.

Inside, there is a new instrument cluster, the awkward, concentric speedometer-revolution counter giving way to two individual, large diameter meters much like Volkswagen’s. There are some piano black appliqués on the dashboard, console and also in the new, smaller 14.1-in. diameter, three-spoke steering wheel, all pursuing a plusher, upper scale car feeling.

Despite the upgrades, J3 prices remain unchanged since launch in March 2011: BRL35,990/US$16,000 (hatchback) and BRL37,990/US$16,900 (saloon). No options are available, cars leave the assembly line fully equipped and with a six-year, unlimited mileage bumper to bumper warranty.