CHINESE light-commercial vehicle specialist LDV is developing an all-new platform to accommodate up to three new related small vehicles – a van, ute and SUV – to sit below its current range of large load luggers from about 2020.
Australian LDV importer, Ateco Automotive, is believed to have expressed interest in the new range, with the Volkswagen Caddy-sized van and small SUV raising the most local attention.
Ateco is getting set to launch LDV’s first one-tonne pick-up, the T60, in September, followed by the related D90 SUV that makes its debut at the Shanghai motor show this week ahead of its Australian launch in in October.
The Chinese-built, diesel-powered T60 and D90 will join LDV’s current van offerings, the large V80 and mid-sized G10, in Australian showrooms, effectively doubling the dealer network’s offerings.
The T60 – mounted on a steel ladder chassis – will go up against a plethora of one-tonners on the Australian market, including the dominant Toyota HiLux and Ford Ranger, as well as the Chinese-built Great Wall Steed.
The large D90 SUV – powered by the same 110kW/360Nm 2.8-litre four-cylinder VM Motori diesel engine as the T60 – will compete with vehicles such as the Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Ford Everest, Toyota Fortuner and Holden Trailblazer.
Pricing and full specifications for these vehicles will be announced closer to launch,
The smaller vehicles now under development by SAIC in China would add another dimension to LDV’s Australian line-up, with the van appealing to small business owners wanting affordable transport for goods and services.
The segment has been dominated for years by European entrants, including the Citroen Berlingo, Renault Kangoo, Volkswagen Caddy and – once upon a time – Holden Combo.
A small SUV built off the same platform would serve as a small sibling for the D90 while tapping into the burgeoning small-SUV segment.
Potentially, its LCV roots and Chinese origins could mean highly competitive pricing, although no-one at LDV would speculate on that with the vehicle still in the early stages of development.
Although the ute version has not been ruled out for Australia, a business case would have to be made to get it over the line.
One of the few small utes to have had success in Australia was the now-defunct Subaru Brumby that found favour with farmers.
As seen on GoAuto.com.au