China's acknowledgement of Australia's booming SUV market was evident this week with SAIC Motor Corporation choosing the NSW coastal town of Kiama as the venue for a global preview of its LDV D90 seven-seat SUV, prior to announcing full details at next week's Shanghai motor show.
Based on its one-tonne T60 pick-up that arrives in Australia in about October this year, the D90 was unveiled at an event attended by about 50 LDV representatives from China who ceremoniously stripped the show cars of their camouflage against a backdrop of the Kiama lighthouse.
The strip show was beamed via video to a simultaneous launch event in Shanghai and via the internet around the world.
LDV's wagon will compete with the Chinese-built Haval H9, and other full-frame SUVs.
Out of its disguise, the D90 is a large, three-row seven seat SUV with conservative bodylines and a bold octagonal three-bar chrome grille.
It showed forward-facing cameras inside the windscreen to indicate that it will come either with forward collision warning or auto emergency braking.
LDV's Australian importer Ateco Automotive said Kiama was chosen for the unveiling because it wanted "somewhere that was beautiful and quintessentially Australian, as Australia will be a major market for the new car."
This was the second showing of the SUV in NSW, after it was previously snapped in camo clothes at a Campbelltown LDV dealership for a video shoot and appearance with one of China's biggest movies and TV stars, Zhang Meng.
While precise timing and specification are yet to be confirmed, the D90 should join LDV's Australian line-up before Christmas.
it is likely the D90 will get a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine mated to either a manual or automatic gearbox.
LDV's wagon will compete with the Chinese-built Haval H9, and other full-frame SUVs including the Holden Trailblazer, Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport and Toyota Fortuner.
No word yet on the drivetrain but it is likely the D90 will get a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine mated to either a manual or automatic gearbox. It is possible an all-wheel drive model and a two-wheel drive model will be offered.
LDV also has two other models on sale in Australia, the V80 full-sized van and G10 mid-sized van.
When the T60 arrives, it will be up against a large ute market including two from China – the Great Wall Steed and Foton Tunland.
Known as Maxus in China, LDV hails from Britain where it was previously known as Leyland DAF Vehicles before being bought by SAIC.
Maxus (LDV) is one of several such UK brands now operated by SAIC out of Shanghai, the others being MG and Roewe (formerly Rover).
Do you think the Chinese LDV D90 could compete against the Pajero Sport and Fortuner? Tell us what you think in the comments below.