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Shanghai show: SAIC pulls covers from first LDV SUV

It’s an unwrap: LDV’s first SUV, the D90, came out in Australia, but full details will be revealed at next week’s Shanghai motor show.

Australia’s Kiama chosen for global reveal of Chinese-built LDV D90 wagon


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13 Apr 2017

CHINA’S biggest auto manufacturer, SAIC Motor, chose the Australian seaside town of Kiama for the global reveal of the first SUV under its LDV brand, the D90, ahead of its public debut at next week’s Shanghai motor show.

Members of a team of about 50 uniformed staffers from China stripped the camouflage from two D90s in a picturesque car-park by the Kiama lighthouse on the New South Wales south coast this week in a ceremonial unveiling beamed via video to a simultaneous launch event in Shanghai and via the internet around the world.

Once uncloaked, the big wagon was revealed as a three-row seven-seater with smooth but generic styling with black and chrome trimmings, including a chrome octagonal three-bar grille.

We can see forward-facing cameras inside the windscreen, indicating either forward collision warning or full autonomous braking.

According to Australian LDV importer Ateco Automotive, the company chose the Kiama location for the reveal because it wanted “somewhere that was beautiful and quintessentially Australian, as Australia will be a major market for the new car”.

It was the second appearance of the large SUV in NSW in a matter of days, with camouflaged vehicles appearing at a Campbelltown LDV dealership last week for a video shoot and appearance with one of China’s biggest movies and TV stars, Zhang Meng (see separate story).

Since then, the cars have been put through their paces in off-road testing in the south coast hinterland between Sydney and Bateman’s Bay.

Based on LDV’s upcoming T60 one-tonne pick-up that is due in Australia around October, the D90 should join the LDV range here before Christmas.

The large SUV will go up against the Chinese-built Haval H9, as well as a flock of other ladder-chassis wagons such as the Ford Everest, Mitsubishi Pajero Sport, Holden Trailblazer and Toyota Fortuner.

Power is expected to come from a 2.8-litre VGT turbo-diesel engine that combines with both a manual or automatic gearbox and a 4x2 or 4x4 driveline. The T60 and D90 will join LDV’s other offerings in Australia, the V80 full-sized van and G10 mid-sized van, in a four-model line-up.

The T60’s main competitors are seen as the Chinese-sourced Great Wall Steed and Foton Tunland.

The Steed is offered in single cab and dual varieties with a choice of two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, along with petrol and diesel engines, with prices starting at $24,990 driveaway.

The Tunland is an all-diesel affair, with three body styles and a choice of 4x2 or 4x4. Its prices start at $22,490 driveaway for the 4x2 single cab.

Known as Maxus in China, LDV’s roots lie in Britain where the company – formerly known as Leyland DAF Vehicles – manufactured commercial vehicles.

After LDV went bankrupt, SAIC Motor snapped it up, shipping the tooling for its most successful vehicle, the Maxus van, to China where it was put back into production for Chinese and export markets, including Australia.

Maxus (LDV) is one of several such UK brands now operated by SAIC out of Shanghai, the others being MG and Roewe (formerly Rover).

SAIC is developing these lines alongside its joint venture business with General Motors and Volkswagen – the two biggest brands in China.

When it started operations in Australia with the V80 van, SAIC could not use the Maxus name due to a prior trademark claim, and so resorted to the old UK brand of LDV.

GoAuto will have more details of the LDV D90 from the Shanghai motor show next week.

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