THE NEW LDV T60 ute will directly target ABN holders when it hits the Australian market on 1 October 2017, with a host of high end standard features set to make it attractive to new ute buyers, and cost competitive, thanks to sharp pricing from its local distributor.
Truck and Bus News was at the media announcement of the new ute in Sydney on Monday which signals Ateco’s re entry to the affordable ute market after previous success with Great Wall and to a lesser extent Foton and Ssangyong.
With a starting price of just $28,990 drive away for ABN holders for the PRO base model ($30,516 RRP), through to $34,990 drive away for the automatic up market LUXE model ($36,831 RRP), the Chinese owned brand is expected to immediately challenge rivals Mitsubishi, but has its sights firmly set on big guns Toyota and Ford.
“We see no reason not to target Toyota and Ford,” said Neville Crighton, owner of importer ATECO, who had a major hand in the development of the new ute for the local market. “We’d love to be doing similar volumes to them.”
What is expected to help in that challenge is the long list of standard features across the range. All models at launch are dual cab 4×4, with each of the two variants available in either a six speed manual transmission or six speed auto.
The base model PRO gets remote central locking, blind spot monitor, adaptive headlights, hill descent control, rear parking sensors, reversing camera, heated door mirrors, tyre pressure monitoring, rain sensing wipers, side steps, headboard, tub liner, air conditioning, and two USB ports.
It also gets a 10-inch touch screen entertainment system, cruise control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, heavy duty suspension, dust sensing headlights and a multi function steering wheel – all in what is pretty much a tradie ute package.
The LUXE model adds smart keyless entry and push button start/stop, electronic ‘on-demand’ rear diff lock, heated and auto folding door mirrors, sports bar, auto dimming rear view mirror, leather steering wheel, leather seats, six-way electric heated front seats, climate controlled air conditioning and comfort suspension.
We got a chance to inspect both models up close and quite frankly, the T60 feels solid; open and close the doors and they shut like a well built ute should. There’s also plenty of rear leg room, even with the front seats a good way back, while the back seats can also be laid flat for additional storage.
They also look great, have a 3-tonne towing capacity and 300kg towball download weight, and have been designed and tested with the help of LDV joint venture partner General Motors (SAIC also has joint ventures with Volkswagen and IVECO).
All model variants are fitted with a common rail 2.8-litre inter-cooled and direct injected turbo diesel that generates 110kW of power and 360Nm of torque, with a very flat torque range expected to negate any power difference between it and its major rivals. It also comes with a five year, 130,000km warranty. Five year 24/7 roadside assist and a five year loan vehicle agreement for servicing.
With big goals to take as much as 5 per cent of the local ute market within a year, ATECO and LDV parent brand Shanghai Automobile and Industrial Corporation (SAIC) are working hand in hand to not only launch Australian specific model specifications, but to also expand the existing 45 dealer LDV network to 65 by then end of 2018.
“We are very confident our products will compete with world class competitors in every way,” SAIC Motor Vice President Lan Qingsong said. “Our long term vision is to have 10 per cent market share in Australia in each segment we enter.”
Mr Qingsong and Vice General Manager and Chief Technical Officer Hao Jingxian highlighted LDV’s plan to also introduce fuel cell and electric vehicles as soon as possible, with both options soon to be available in the V80 van. The company also has plans for full autopilot systems as the technology evolves.
The LDV T60 does not yet have an ANCAP safety rating as while testing has been completed, the safety body is yet to announce the rating. It has however been independently crash tested and has completed more than 2 million kilometres of capability and drive testing, including in Australia.