During a high-altitude test drive on March 29, the Tank 500 vehicle produced by Tank, a sub-brand of Chinese automobile manufacturer Great Wall Motor, rolled over and caused multiple injuries.
An official statement revealed that the police’s initial assessment attributed the accident to both excessive speed during a turn and improper operation. The car had four occupants who were able to exit through their doors without difficulty following the incident. Medical professionals confirmed that only minor scratches were sustained, and all individuals underwent medical examinations as a precautionary measure. Engineers from Tank have been deployed to aid in analyzing the accident.
The passengers in the accident avoided serious injuries because they had all fastened their seat belts. According to an eyewitness, the incident occurred at an altitude of over 4,000 meters and the driver is a media editor who obtained his driving license in 2015. The driver failed to brake while turning on an uphill road, resulting in the accident. Additionally, the incident took place around 2 pm amidst snowy mountains and bright lights which posed challenges for the driver who was not wearing sunglasses. The witness also reported that a doctor suggested high-altitude sickness may have caused a sudden reaction from the driver leading to this incident.
According to a social media post, the driver in the accident was suspected of driving while fatigued. The source also alleged that the driver lacked professional experience and had poor driving skills. Additionally, Tank was criticized for allowing inexperienced drivers to participate in high-risk test drives.
Following the accident, a safety analysis video of the involved vehicle surfaced online. The video revealed that despite the impact, the car body structure remained intact and there was no separation between the chassis beam and passenger compartment. Additionally, there were no fuel leaks or fires, and rescue personnel could easily open the car door manually. These findings demonstrate that even after overturning, the vehicle provided adequate protection for its passengers.
Great Wall Motor created a new sub-brand by separating the Tank series from its WEY brand in April 2021. The Tank 500 was launched officially in March 2022. During the development of the Tank 500, more than five million kilometers of bench testing were conducted for its 3.0T V6 engine and 9AT transmission.
Great Wall Motor held an online press conference for the 2023 Tank 500 on March 30 as scheduled, despite the accident. The new car is priced between 335,000 yuan and 395,000 yuan ($48,892 – $57,649). Notably, the rear radar mudguard of this edition has been optimized to reduce interference from rain and snow on radar sensors. This improvement enhances the adaptability of the vehicle’s electrical system overall.
The intense competition in the market has greatly affected Tank. In February 2023, Tank sold 5,150 units of its model 300 and 1,022 units of its model 500, according to data from the China Passenger Car Association.