Conceived in 2011 for the Brazilian market, the T40 has finally arrived, in the middle of 'course corrections' for JAC's operations here in Brazil.
It is essentially a a J3 hatchback-derived crossover but a shade wider, with the Honda WR-V as inspiration.
The T40 was designed in Italy for launch in Brazil but shortcomings led to an initial debut in China.
It has the J3's 1.5-litre, flexible fuel engine and a manual gearbox. A CVT automatic option will arrive in 2018. Prices are as attractive as for all Chinese models here: from BRL56,990/US$18,000 to BRL58,990/$18,700.
Standard equipment includes cruise control, ESC, HSA (hill start assist), eight inch multimedia screen and rear camera.
A Brazil exclusive is the front facing dashcam. Importer Grupo SHC expects that feature will reduce owners' insurance cost as it will be easier to apportion blame for traffic accidents.
The Chinese brand has also introduced a new logo that resembles KIA's.
As for course correction, plans for a full manufacturing plant in Camaçari, Bahia state, have been delayed again. The Brazilian unit now expects to simply assemble the T40 here from CKD kits from 2019 instead, for now. It is also negotiating with the government for a waiver to dodge the heavy fines for not achieving its original timetable to local manufacturing, citing the severe market slowdown in the past three years.
SHC president Sergio Habib predicted the current JAC range of hatches, saloons and vans would all be replaced by crossovers in Brazil within four years.
This includes the J2 city car-derived T20 to compete with the Renault Kwid, a new generation T5 called T50, and the T70 (S70 in China).
A medium size, unitary body, double cab, diesel, 4×4 pick up truck also is planned.