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Can China's Toyota HiLux rival continue to carry LDV?

The LDV T60 makes up the bulk of volume for the brand, but new models could propel the Chinese car maker further.

We’ve written a lot in recent times about the rise and rise of Chinese brands in the Australian market. MG, Haval, GWM and LDV all enjoyed solid sales in 2020, with the latter up more than 43 per cent.

As we reported last year, LDV claims it’s now a “mainstream” brand having sold more than 9000 vehicles in 2020 – up from just 214 in 2014 when Ateco Group took over the brand. That’s significant growth, but the brand remains reliant on the Toyota HiLux-rivalling T60 ute for the majority of its success.

The T60 was worth 59.8 per cent of all of those record 2020 sales, with the brand’s second best-seller, the G10 van, only making up 17.4 per cent. That looks set to change in 2021 (or at least that’s what the brand is hoping for) thanks to two important, but relatively late, 2020 arrivals.

The arrival of the new twin-turbo diesel engine for its D90 SUV along with the all-new Deliver 9 large commercial van hitting showrooms gave the brand a boost in the final months of 2020.

The expectation is both will enjoy strong sales performances this year and provide support for the T60. Certainly, the numbers for both look headed in the right direction.

LDV sold 113 D90s in January this year, according to the VFACTS report, which is a 370 per cent increase on January 2020. The 160kW/480Nm 2.0-litre twin-turbo diesel seems to have added plenty of appeal to the Toyota Fortuner, Ford Everest and Isuzu MU-X rival.

Ateco’s spokesperson couldn’t confirm any specifics, but said the company remains open to adding new models to the line-up in future. One obvious candidate would be the the mid-size D60 SUV to sit beneath the D90.

While it won’t attract headlines or attention the Deliver 9 should, dare we say, deliver more sales to LDV. In January it outsold the Volkswagen Crafter and Renault Master, but still has plenty of growth to reach the numbers done by the class-leading Isuzu and Hino offerings.

Not that the T60 will be ignored, as previously reported by CarsGuide, LDV is rumoured to be adding the twin-turbo diesel engine to the range along with a possible V6 turbo diesel to add some more muscle in its fight against the HiLux and Ford Ranger.

The ‘limited edition’ Trailrider is also expected to make a return for a third time, with the more premium specification model proving popular with buyers.