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'LDV is a legitimate mainstream brand now': Chinese commercial-vehicle specialist no longer a challenger as T60 ute underpins Australian rise

The T60 has underpinned LDV’s rise to prominence in Australia.

LDV has become a fully fledged “mainstream” automotive brand in Australia, according to a spokesperson for the growing Chinese commercial-vehicle specialist, which has arguably been put on the map by the T60 dual-cab ute.

Speaking at the all-new Deliver 9 heavy-commercial vehicle’s virtual launch this week, LDV Australia spokesperson Oliver Peagam proclaimed “LDV is a legitimate mainstream brand now”.

LDV was relaunched in Australia by independent distributor Ateco Group in October 2014 and sold 23,096 new vehicles between then and the end of September 2020.

The T60 has been its best-selling model, with 10,331 sales during that period, despite only launching in October 2017, while its first Trailrider flagship grade and Mega Tub long-wheelbase body-style arrived in May and November 2019 respectively.

Needless to say, the T60 has helped LDV go from strength to strength in the past three years, but either way, the brand has grown from 214 sales in 2014 to 767 in 2015, 1542 in 2016, 2580 in 2017, 6064 in 2018 and 6480 in 2019.

The Deliver 9 is LDV's first heavy-commercial vehicle in Australia. The Deliver 9 is LDV's first heavy-commercial vehicle in Australia.

To the end of September 2020, LDV continued to grow, with its sales up 11.7 per cent over the first nine months of 2019, to 5449, in a new-vehicle market that was down 20.5 per cent with severe external factors at play. Needless to say, another annual record is in sight.

And to put LDV’s sales success this year into context, it’s outsold fellow mainstream brands Volvo (5291 units, -8.5%), Land Rover (4632, -34.1%), Skoda (4534, -13.7%), Renault (4322, -27.3%) and Jeep (3791, -13.2%), among others. Overall, it ranks 19th for volume.

“Despite headwinds, 2020 has seen continued growth for the LDV brand,” LDV Australia general manager Dinesh Chinnappa said in a statement.

“The all-new Deliver 9 is an important building block in our growth strategy, and we’re excited about the opportunity it brings.”

The Deliver 9 is LDV’s sixth model after the T60 and related D90 large SUV as well as the G10 mid-size van, G10 people mover and V80 large van. Critically, it is the brand’s first heavy-commercial vehicle, entering a segment where it is the clear price leader.

This strategy has been key to the ongoing success of the T60 (3258 units, +23.0%) and D90 (408, +144.3%) to the end of September 2020.

And while the G10 van (920, -11.9%), G10 people mover (509, -17.2%) and V80 (349, -13.8%) have backtracked in the first nine months of 2020, they haven’t done so as badly as the new-vehicle market.