Future Models - LDV 2017 D90
Shanghai show: LDV SUV to get true-blue kick off
Coming up: LDV’s new D90 large SUV was shown off at the Shanghai motor show, but its real global launch will be held in Australia in late September.
Massive Sydney harbourside global launch event planned for LDV D90 4x4 wagon
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20 April 2017
CHINESE automotive giant SAIC Motor is preparing to bring hundreds of dealers,
journalists and staffers from five continents to Australia for the global
launch of its first large SUV, the LDV D90.
Sydney Harbour will be the backdrop for the massive launch event that will also
double as the Australian launch of the D90’s utility twin, the LDV T60, in late
China’s biggest motor manufacturer recently gave a foretaste of the upcoming
Australian event when it brought two D90s to Australia to unveil them via a
video link to China, as well as on the internet around the world, from the New
South Wales south coast at Kiama.
Known as the Maxus D90 in China where it is about to go into production
alongside the new T60 at SAIC’s Wuxi factory north-west of Shanghai, the big
seven-seat four-wheel-drive wagon – more than 5.2 metres long and 2.05 metres
wide – was formally unveiled at the Shanghai motor show this week.
LDV’s Australian importer, Ateco Automotive, confirmed at the show that the D90
will go on sale in Australia in October, at the same time as the T60, which is
earlier than previously expected.
However, Ateco’s LDV general manager Dinesh Chinnappa said the only variant
available at launch will be a 165kW/360Nm petrol four-cylinder 2.0-litre
turbocharged unit, with the diesel version to follow later when an all-new
engine now under development becomes available.
That diesel powerplant will eventually find its way into the T60 which will be
launched with an older VM Motori 2.8-litre diesel unit producing 110kW of power
and 360Nm of torque.
While the T60 will come with a choice of six-speed manual and automatic
transmissions, the D90 will get only the automatic.
It will also come with high levels of safety equipment including autonomous
emergency braking. SAIC has jumped the gun by stating in a brochure given to
Australian journalists that the related T60 ute qualifies for a five-star ANCAP
rating, even though the vehicle is not scheduled to be tested by the Australian
independent safety organisation until September.
Mr Chinnappa said pricing for both the T60 and D90 – which share the same
ladder chassis platform – was still being negotiated with SAIC and would be
announced, along with final specifications, closer to showroom launch.
The D90 will go up against a growing number of such rugged, off-road capable
SUVs built on utility platforms in Australia, including the Ford Everest,
Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Toyota Fortuner and Holden Trailblazer.
SAIC revealed at the Shanghai show that the D90’s international origins started
at the concept stage when it enlisted an army of 30,000 potential customers
from around the world on the internet to suggest features and design for the
Describing the input as “collective wisdom”, SAIC group vice-president Lan
Qingsong said SAIC’s engineers had made the D90 longer, taller and narrower
than originally planned due to suggestions from car fans, some of who became so
involved in the project that they were enlisted to drive prototypes.
He said the octagonal grille and 21-inch wheels were also included at the
suggestion of the fans in what he described as China’s first global
customer-to-business (C2B) operation for a vehicle.
Mr Qingsong said the operation required SAIC to set up a massive data
collection centre which will be employed to help produce all of its future
For Australia, Ateco has confirmed it will start with a seven-seat version with
three rows, but has not yet decided if it will import other variations.
In China, the seven-seater will be available in two seating configurations –
2-3-2 and 2-2-3 – but Ateco will only select one of these for range simplicity.
Mr Chinnappa said his company favoured two model specifications – an entry
vehicle and a more comprehensively equipped flagship – and this policy would
most likely be applied to both D90 and T60.
A large infotainment screen in the dash and high levels of connectivity –
including Apple and Android connections – will be included all models.
Mr Chinnappa said Ateco was excited by the prospects for the D90, but that he
believed the T60 ute would lead the way for the Chinese brand’s first heavy
He said Australian acceptance was greater – and growing – for Chinese
commercial vehicles than passenger cars.
Ateco pioneered Chinese car imports in Australia with the Great Wall and Chery
brands, with only Great Wall utes enjoying any level of success.
The D90 and T60 will join LDV’s two-pronged van range, the large V80 and
smaller G10, to build volume for its national dealer network that in the first
quarter of this year sold 460 vans, up 22 per cent on the same period last year.
Those dealers will be included in the global Sydney launch that, according to
Ateco spokesperson Edward Rowe, came about after SAIC executives were impressed
with an Australian vehicle launch last year.
The huge logistical planning exercise for the D90 event will involve setting
out test drive programs – both on-road and off-road – for participants, most of
whom will be getting their first taste of the vehicle.
Several harbourside venues are being hired for the chain of launch events that
will involve visitors from across Asia – including a big contingent from China
– Europe, South America, Africa, the Middle East and, of course, Australia.
The missing link is North America where SAIC is yet to establish a foothold but
is planning to do so.
In China, SAIC is the joint-venture partner with the two biggest brands,
General Motors and Volkswagen, but its export ventures involve only its
self-developed products MG and Maxus/LDV, both of which originally were British
brands before SAIC took over the ailing companies.