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LDV to diversify T60 range with more offerings

Rock n Roll: LDV is expected to bring a production version of its T60 Off Road Concept revealed at this year’s Shanghai motor show to the Australian market sometime next year or in 2019.

Ranger Wildtrak-rivalling LDV T60 to launch in China this year, Oz debut to follow

27 Sep 2017

LDV’S dual-cab T60 4x4 pick-up is yet to officially go on sale but the Chinese brand is already readying new body styles and powertrains, as well as a headline-stealing variant, to bolster the ute range.

Speaking to Australian journalists at the local reveal of the T60 workhorse, LDV importer Ateco Automotive Australia’s general manager Dinesh Chinnappa said the company is looking to expand its pick-up offerings to include a petrol engine and two-wheel-drive diesel option.

“We would take a petrol engine tomorrow if we could have it, particularly if we could get it in an entry-level, cab-chassis, drop-side tray, price-leader type proposition, but it’s just not available today,” he said.

“It’s on the drawing cards and we expect it in about 18 months, and SAIC haven’t missed a beat yet on availability, it’s just not available today.

“We are working on the homologation for diesel cab-chassis, both in two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, and we’re working on the homologation and importation and approval for a two-wheel-drive dual cab as well.”

The T60 will launch next week with two variants, a tradie-baiting Pro version and a lifestyle-focused Luxe grade, both available in a dual-cab body style and with a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine.

However, Mr Chinnappa said there would be no rush to bring in more variants of the T60 as the launch range will cover the majority of pick-up buyers.

“We’re not in any great tearing rush,” he said. “With the 4x4 dual cabs that you see here, we get about 80-88 per cent market coverage and we’re pretty happy with that, and we’ll roll out cab chassis and the other variants as it’s comfortable for the business to do so.”

Ateco Group managing director Roger Zagorski added that the brand will focus its efforts on the new T60 ute and upcoming D90 SUV before looking to the future.

“The first step with these two new products is certainly to start accelerating the sales rate on the 4x4 pick-up market, and as we do that, it is our plan and intention to extend the range to include single cab utes as well,” he said.

“The immediate future is to focus on these two models, plus the existing van range.”

Mr Zagorski also confirmed capped price servicing is in the cards for the brand, expected to be introduced in late 2018 or early 2019 as the finer details are ironed out.

“It’s definitely on the horizon and it’s on the agenda,” he said. “It is something that we will do and work towards doing towards the end of next year, or throughout next year.

“It does take a lot of infrastructure and it does take a lot of connectivity with your dealer network to produce that sort of pricing structure across the entire country, and when we were talking about three per cent of the Aussie market, it was a burden too big to go to, but now that we’ve got the T60 and D90 and we can step it up to that next level.”

All but locked in for an Australian launch is a flagship T60, previewed in pre-production form earlier this year at the Shanghai motor show with the T60 Off Road Concept.

SAIC Motor vice president Lan Qingsong confirmed a showroom version of the T60 Off Road Concept would make its way into Chinese dealerships by year’s end, with an Australian debut expected to follow.

“We did show this off-road special to the Australian media in the last Shanghai auto show, and of course we will launch it to the Chinese market first by the end of this year,” he said.

“We will reveal and discuss with Ateco about the Australian market to see any further requirements and also standards required by policy before it goes on sale.”

The concept version wears the Chinese domestic market Maxus badging, while also sporting an increased ride height, snorkel, beefed-up underbody protection, bolt-on wheelarches and off-road tyres, all of which is expected to be toned down for the production version.

A highly-styled, off-road-focused flagship T60 could take on the likes of the Ford Ranger Wildtrak, Toyota HiLux TRD and Holden Colorado Z71 while coming in at a much lower price point that its competitors which start at around $55,000 before on-roads.

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