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LDV vans now distributed by Ateco

LDV V80 vans.

China's biggest vehicle brand now has a niche entry into Australia as Sydney-based importer Ateco picks up a string of people movers and commercial vans.

Ateco Automotive this week took on the importation and distribution of LDV, the commercial-vehicle arm of China's biggest automotive group, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC).

But the entrée into SAIC also gives Ateco the opportunity to import Chinese-made passenger cars in the near future.
It is the fourth Chinese brand to be imported by Ateco.

Company spokesman Daniel Cotterill says Ateco starts launching the diesel-powered V80 range of delivery vans in October, then will introduce the G10 seven-seat people mover and one-tonne light van in the first quarter of next year. Automatic transmission will become an option across the range in early 2015. 

"The people mover gives us direct access to Australia's people-mover sector and that makes it easier in the future to import passenger cars," he says. "We are also looking at a ute which we expect here within 18 months."

Mr Cotterill says pricing is still a "work in progress" but says the short wheelbase V80 van, the cheapest in the range, will sell for less than $30,000 including drive-away costs. That indicates the V80 will become Australia's cheapest one-tonne delivery van. Rivals include the diesel Ford Transit at $37,490, Fiat Scudo ($28,990) and Hyundai iLoad ($36,490). These prices do not include on-road costs.

  • First it was the Koreans and now the Chinese are ramping up a workhorse presence in Australia. A sharply-priced entry into the light-commercial van market by Chinese giant SAIC - badged as an LDV - is now on sale in Australia. First it was the Koreans and now the Chinese are ramping up a workhorse presence in Australia. A sharply-priced entry into the light-commercial van market by Chinese giant SAIC - badged as an LDV - is now on sale in Australia.
  • In a way it’s similar to Hyundai's iLoad commercial van and its $5000 dearer iMax peoplemover set-up, LDV importer/distributor will offer a peoplemover variant of its van range. In a way it’s similar to Hyundai's iLoad commercial van and its $5000 dearer iMax peoplemover set-up, LDV importer/distributor will offer a peoplemover variant of its van range.
  • The LDV V80 commercial range will have pricing starting from $32,990 for the SWB model, or an extra $5000 for the mid-roof long-wheelbase model; the tallest high-roof LWB model starts at $39,990. The LDV SWB model is around $4000 below the Toyota HiAce turbodiesel. The LDV V80 commercial range will have pricing starting from $32,990 for the SWB model, or an extra $5000 for the mid-roof long-wheelbase model; the tallest high-roof LWB model starts at $39,990. The LDV SWB model is around $4000 below the Toyota HiAce turbodiesel.
  • The van range comes in short and long-wheelbase models with a choice of roof height and is aimed squarely at tradespeople and those in the business of moving people but the brand has plans for a peoplemover to join the fray. The van range comes in short and long-wheelbase models with a choice of roof height and is aimed squarely at tradespeople and those in the business of moving people but the brand has plans for a peoplemover to join the fray.
  • WMC - AKA the White Motor Corporation, is already the Australasian distributor of Higer buses and JAC trucks and has finally added LDV (Leyland Daf Vans) to its stable after several months of delays. WMC - AKA the White Motor Corporation, is already the Australasian distributor of Higer buses and JAC trucks and has finally added LDV (Leyland Daf Vans) to its stable after several months of delays.
  • The long-running British commercial vehicle brand was bought lock, stock and barrel by SAIC in 2009 and from that - as well as joint ventures with GM and Volkswagen - was born the new LDV V80 van range now on the market in Australia. The long-running British commercial vehicle brand was bought lock, stock and barrel by SAIC in 2009 and from that - as well as joint ventures with GM and Volkswagen - was born the new LDV V80 van range now on the market in Australia.
  • LDV V80 and SWB vans LDV V80 and SWB vans
  • The company is putting together larger-capacity bus and wheelchair transport models with Byron Industries but is planning a seven or eight-seater peoplemover before 2014 arrives. The company is putting together larger-capacity bus and wheelchair transport models with Byron Industries but is planning a seven or eight-seater peoplemover before 2014 arrives.
  • WMC CEO Neil Bamford says SAIC is moving on hurdles for a peoplemover model going on sale here - including the availability of stability control (by the end of 2013) and the installation of an auto, believed to be a six-speed automated manual gearbox from Magneti Marelli. WMC CEO Neil Bamford says SAIC is moving on hurdles for a peoplemover model going on sale here - including the availability of stability control (by the end of 2013) and the installation of an auto, believed to be a six-speed automated manual gearbox from Magneti Marelli.
  • "We'd love the automatic here tomorrow, this market likes the auto, it's in R&D at the moment and we're expecting a prototype in the third quarter and then production will follow, I think it will be end of this year or early 2014." "We'd love the automatic here tomorrow, this market likes the auto, it's in R&D at the moment and we're expecting a prototype in the third quarter and then production will follow, I think it will be end of this year or early 2014."
  • The brand is claiming to be in the Australian market for the "long term" and a slow start is not unexpected - estimates of 50 vans a month (compared to Hyundai and Toyota tallies of 500 a month) from a dealer network that currently numbers 34, although Mr Bamford would like to see that number rise to 40. The brand is claiming to be in the Australian market for the "long term" and a slow start is not unexpected - estimates of 50 vans a month (compared to Hyundai and Toyota tallies of 500 a month) from a dealer network that currently numbers 34, although Mr Bamford would like to see that number rise to 40.
  • "There are a few ADR issues we need to get through - R&D are indicating the issues are not insurmountable so we should be in a position later in the year to bring a passenger version out," says WMC CEO Neil Bamford. "There are a few ADR issues we need to get through - R&D are indicating the issues are not insurmountable so we should be in a position later in the year to bring a passenger version out," says WMC CEO Neil Bamford.
  • The Chinese brand is starting its commercial model at prices $1500 below the Hyundai's entry-level turbodiesel iLoad. The Chinese brand is starting its commercial model at prices $1500 below the Hyundai's entry-level turbodiesel iLoad.
  • But don't expect to see WMC bringing fellow SAIC stablemate MG into Australia from its Chinese home - it's an empahtic no from the CEO. "No, not at all - the brands we have at the moment will be our bread and butter for some time to come," he says. But don't expect to see WMC bringing fellow SAIC stablemate MG into Australia from its Chinese home - it's an empahtic no from the CEO. "No, not at all - the brands we have at the moment will be our bread and butter for some time to come," he says.

"We will price the range as competitively as possible," Mr Cotterill says. "It is a very competitive sector of the market." He says Ateco won't move from the industry-standard three-year, 100,000km warranty.

The LDV distributorship was originally held by White Motor Corporation. Ateco now plans to use the existing 18 national LDV dealers to build up to 30 by October and 40 by the end of this year.

Mr Cotterill says some dealers may be existing  agents for Ateco's other Asian brands, Great Wall, Chery, Ssangyong and Foton.
In addition, Ateco distributes Maserati and Lotus. Despite the volume and pricing of the Chinese vehicles in Ateco's portfolio, only Maserati is showing sales growth.

Great Wall sales have slumped 58 per cent year to date in comparison with 2013. Chery is down 20 per cent and Ssangyong is also off 20 per cent in the same time period.

Mr Cotterill says it's disappointing but blames the drop offs in sales to currency changes that erode the landed price of the vehicles.

"It (light commercial vehicle ute market) is extremely competitive and it all comes down to price," he says. "There are two reasons for the sales fall in Great Wall – the price and the fact that the Chinese company has had difficulties and has been unable to upgrade its right-hand drive vehicle models.

"But we see the currency issue and the stalling of vehicle development in China as cyclical. It's tough at the moment but we are positive for the future." In addition to building its own vehicles, SAIC is China's biggest and oldest joint-venture car company with ongoing partnerships with General Motors and Volkswagen.

LDV was bought from UK-based Leyland DAF Vans (LDV) in 2009. The front-wheel drive vans use a VM Motori 100kW/330Nm 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine.

The V80 range includes three van formats and 11 and 18-seater buses.

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