Bargain-basement pricing is being mooted as China’s newest ute, the LDV T60, prepares to hit Australia with the aim of undercutting not only the Thai-built players but also fellow Chinese rivals, including Great Wall Motors.
LDV, a division of China’s biggest vehicle-maker SAIC Motor, which already sells its V80 and G10 vans in Australia through distributor Ateco Automotive, is hoping to get the 4WD dual-cab ute here priced from around $26,000 driveaway.
But Ateco – which also distributes the Chinese-made Foton Tunland ute – said pricing won’t be firmed up until closer to the T60’s launch in September.
For the LDV ute to be competitive, it had to arrive with a price of at least 15-20 per cent under comparative vehicles.
Ateco’s LDV Australia general manager Dinesh Chinnappa said pricing was still being negotiated with the manufacturer but to make it work in Australia, the price had to be competitive and make people want to buy it.
He said that for the LDV ute to be competitive, it had to arrive with a price of at least 15-20 per cent under comparative vehicles.
Mr Chinnappa said he wanted a price for the new ute to be about $26,000.
Also in the mix is the Indian-made Mahindra Genio 4WD dual-cab diesel ute that is priced at $27,990 drive-away and the similarly specified Chinese-built JMC Vigus at $27,990 drive-away.
The LDV will definitely undercut the top-selling Thai-built dual-cabs that dominate the segment, with the most affordable equivalent Toyota HiLux priced from $48,490 plus on-road costs, while the Ford Ranger 2.2-litre XL double cab is $45,090.
Ateco plans to introduce up to six variants of the dual-cab T60 to the Australian market in September.
But Ateco is confident the T60 will be a winner, if not on price alone then on the high safety standard. The ute is claimed by SAIC to be capable of an ANCAP five-star crash rating and will know if it meets this standard when it undergoes tests in Australia in September.
Its safety equipment list is impressive for the proposed price, with a laser-welded body made of high-strength steel, six airbags including full-length curtains, and on top of electronic stability control, it has a lane departure warning system.
The 4WD ute also has a low-range gearbox, hill descent and hill holder functions.
Ateco plans to introduce up to six variants of the dual-cab T60 to the Australian market in September, followed by plans for cab-chassis versions.
A 2WD dual-cab model is also being considered, and there may be scope for a 'megacab' variant that has its wheelbase extended by 300mm.
The T60 is yet to have a tow rating but Ateco is hopeful it will be more than 3000kg.
Mr Chinnappa said a new, more powerful diesel engine is under final development and will be seen first in the company’s upcoming SUV.
The T60 will be available in two specification levels – 'Worker' and 'Lifestyle' – with the same 2.8-litre engine that is licensed from VM Motori.
The engine, in different guises, is also used in the Holden Colorado and Jeep Wrangler. Mr Chinnappa said a new, more powerful diesel engine is under final development and will be seen first in the company’s upcoming SUV.
LDV’s T60-based D90 SUV, which had its global reveal in the NSW coastal town of Kiama this month, will be launched in September.