Is it possible that a Chinese built dual cab ute can establish itself and snare 10% of the competitive Australian ute market.
Given the failure of Chinese brands to establish a foothold in the Australian market previously, the question was repeatedly asked about how LDV was going to make any headway in the competitive Australian ute market when to be honest VW has struggled with its Amarok ute.
SAIC, which owns LDV, builds about 6.5-7m vehicles a year. That is impressive.
It has a number of joint ventures with other manufacturers such as the VW group, General Motors and Iveco and has importantly established itself in the people mover and light van market segments in Australia with more than 5% of those segments.
This also has an established dealer network of 45 dealers, which will grow to 60 plus over the next few years.
On top of this the importer is ATECO which has a strong history (with one or two hiccups) of establishing brands in the Australian market. Think Kia and Suzuki as well as Maserati, Ferrari and Lamborghini.
So to the LDV T60 ute.
First impressions are that it looks pretty good.
From the side and rear it is actually presents strong lines and can be mistaken for any of the existing utes.
Initially there is only one body shape, the dual cab, one engine, a 2.8L turbo diesel, one drive train, a 4X4 and two transmissions, a six speed manual or automatic box.
The engine produces 110kW and a usefully flat torque curve with a maximum of 360Nm of torque.
All versions have four-wheel drive with high and low range, however it is not shift on the fly. All versions are rated to tow up to three tonnes with a braked trailer.
LDV T60 driveaway pricing:
- $30,516 PRO manual
- $32,621 PRO automatic
- $34,726 LUXE manual
- $36,831 LUXE automatic
There are two trim levels, the PRO and LUXE.
The PRO, which is essentially a work based entry level model, is packed with standard features such as a ten-inch touch screen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, along with alloy wheels, side steps and roof rails.
Power windows, heated external mirrors, remote central locking and A/C are standard across the range, as are automatic height adjusting headlights that ensure they are always working at the optimum height, regardless of the load in the T60.
The LUXE version is targeted for the dual purpose or family recreational ute. LUXE not only adds a range of standard equipment as befits the range-topping variant, it even has different suspension settings aimed at the recreational market.
Internally the fit and finish appears first class.
The seats are comfortable all around and there is more than enough head room and even for the rear passengers there is enough leg room. It appears to be as spacious as the larger utes currently available.
Safety features include six airbags – driver and front passenger airbags, side bags, full length curtain bags – and a host of other electronic and structural safety features.
For the arrival of the T60 LDV has also raised the stakes with its warranty, taking it out to five years and 130,000 km and including for the first time a loan car program alongside the 24/7 roadside assistance.
LDV’s confidence in its latest model is also demonstrated by its ten year body perforation rust warranty.
The all-new LDV T60 ute will be on sale in Australia from 1 October 2017, delivering a combination of high equipment levels, real value for money, four-wheel drive ability on all versions.
Pricing was described as ‘sharp’ at the launch, which is an understatement.
It represents awesome value.
Unfortunately I can’t comment more until I can actually take it for a drive for an extended period of time, but it seems on paper to be competitive, especially with the overall package and pricing.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2017 LDV T60
- Engine: 2.0L petrol developing 110kW and 360Nm
- Transmission: Six speed manual or automatic
- Warranty: Five year/130,000km
- Safety: Five stars
- Origin: China
- Price: from $30,516