A Daihatsu Charade But Different: The Geely Mini Pickup Trucks

Geely Mini Pickup Truck

In the late 1990’s and early 2000’s Geely manufactured two mini pickup trucks and one mini-mini van. All were based on the Geely Haoqing hatchback which in turn was based on the Tianjin Xiali hatchback which in another turn was based on the Daihatsu Charade.

Daihatsu Charade

Tianjin Xiali licensed the platform from Daihatsu, and they earned lots of extra yuan by sneak-sub licensing the platform to other small Chinese automakers, including Geely, which still was really small in those days.

Tianjin Xiali TJ700, on a period factory brochure.

Tianjin Xiali also had a license for making the Daihatsu 0.993 3-cylinder engine for the Charade, and naturally, as this is in China, they sold that motor to whoever wanted it, including again to Geely.

Geely Haoqing hatchback on a period factory photo.

Geely turned the platform and engine into the Haoqing series and subsequent into the Merrie series.

Factory photo. Rural Nanny, 2-door single cabin. Check the trendy crease over the side of the bed!

The pickup truck was the beautifully named Rural Nanny, and the mini-mini van that was based on it was called the Urban Nanny. The pickup truck came in two kinds: a normal two-door single cabin, and a not-so normal two-door double cabin.

Factory photo. Rural Nanny, 2-door double cabin.

The later was especially designed to get around the rules that banned rural vehicles from city centers. Geely hoped the extra space would qualify it as a ‘passenger car’, so it could enter a city center, and the ploy apparently worked out as planned (!).

Urban Nanny.

Designations: the Rural Nanny 2-door single cab was designated JL1010,  the Rural Nanny 2-door double cab HQ1010, and the Urban Nanny van was designated JL5010X.

All three cars were available with two engines:

1) the 0.933 liter Tianjin-Xiali 3-pot. The Tianjin-Xiali designation of the engine was TJ376Q. Geely gave the engine its own designation; JL376Q. Output was 51 hp and 75 Nm.

2) A Toyota 1.342 liter four-cylinder. This engine was obtained from the Tianjin FAW-Toyota joint venture. Output was 84 hp and 122 Nm.

Rural Nanny 2-door single cab. Characters on the back read: Zhonghuo Geely, China Geely, with the Geely logo in the middle.

Rural Nanny 2-door single cab: 3965/1640/1434, wheelbase 2340. The bed: 1530/1330/370. Curb weight was 940 kilo and max load was 430 kilo.

Urban Nanny: 3965/1640/1635, wheelbase 2340. The bed: 1530/1330/1000. Curb weight was 940 kilo and max load was 300 kilo.

I realize that the numbers are a little bit odd, curb weight of the Nanny should be slightly lower and max load should be about the same, but these are the official numbers provided by Geely and they are the best I have.

Rural Nanny, 2-door double cab.

Rural Nanny 2-door double cab: 3955/1600/1420, wheelbase is 2340. Sadly I don’t know the bed’s size but it appears to be about 30 centimeters shorter than on the single-cab version. Curb weigh is rated, again, at 950 kilo and max load at 430 kilo.

Production of the pickup trucks and min-mini van ended in 2006, and Geely never went back into the pickup truck business after that, although they did show various pickup truck concepts. Too bad really, there is still a huge market for this kind of vehicles, not only in China but also in the rest of our big wide world.