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LDV plans to play value card with T60 ute

All in: LDV’s T60 ute is already in production in China where it is sold under the Maxus brand.

Price key to new Chinese LDV T60 as Ateco plans to shake Aussie ute market


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20 Apr 2017


LDV vehicle importer Ateco Automotive is hoping to undercut its mainly Thai-built competitors for its all-new T60 pick-up by thousands of dollars when the big one-tonner starts rolling into Australia in late September.

The first batch of right-hand-drive dual-cab T60s for Australia went into production this week at LDV’s Wuxi plant in China, just as Australian journalists arrived to observe the unveiling of the T60’s related SUV, the D90, at the Shanghai motor show.

Armed with a 2.8-litre VM Motori-developed four-cylinder diesel engine producing 110kW of power and 360Nm of torque and a choice of six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, the T60 roll-out will start with the dual-cab 4x4 pick-up, with other models, including an entry level 4x2 cab-chassis workhorse, to follow in a staggered launch program.

Ateco’s LDV Australia general manager Dinesh Chinnappa said in Shanghai that pricing for the new range – the first large pick-up in LDV’s portfolio that until now has comprised the V80 and G10 vans – was still being negotiated with LDV parent company SAIC Motor.

“If you are looking at a new product from anywhere, particularly from China, there is a price-brand relativity you have to achieve to give consumers enough reason to want to buy it,” he said.

“So we are realists. As a new brand out of China, it has got to be a competitive.

“And competitive means priced underneath the existing status quo vehicles by at least 15-20 per cent. And it has to be.

“So that is what we are looking towards. Sometimes we achieve it, sometimes we can’t.”

Mr Chinnapa should know – Ateco not only distributes the Chinese-sourced Foton pick-up range but formerly imported the Great Wall line-up before that was taken back by a factory operation under Haval Australia.

While the cheapest 4x4 dual-cab diesel one-tonners from Chinese rivals Great Wall and Foton start around the $30,000 driveaway mark, Ateco would like its cheapest 4x4 dual-cab diesel D90 to start around the $26,000 point.

The most affordable similar Toyota HiLux is $48,490 plus on-road costs, while the Ford Ranger 2.2-litre XL double cab is $45,090.

Unlike many other Chinese-sourced vehicles down the years, the T60 has been engineered to five-star safety standards, with six airbags –including full-length curtain units in the dual-cab – laser-welded body with high-strength steel and safety electronics such as lane departure warning.

SAIC appears to be so confident of its five-star rating that it even ran the Australian ANCAP five-star logo in a brochure handed to journalists, before the independent organisation has done the test, which is apparently scheduled for September.

Mr Chinnappa said the current price negotiations with SAIC had started with the dual-cab variants, which are expected to number six at launch, to be followed by separate talks on cab-chassis and then the related D90 SUV.

He said the T60 dual-cab and D90 4x4 would both be launched in Australia in late September, with the cab-chassis line-up to follow.

Only one diesel engine will be offered, but he confirmed that a newer, more powerful diesel that will debut in the D90 will replace the current 2.8-litre engine in T60 in the not too distant future.

Mr Chinnappa said the T60 would be offered in two specifications – worker and lifestyle – to keep the range simple.

However, he added that Ateco was considering a 4x2 dual cab and even a stretched “megacab” variant that GoAuto spotted under test at SAIC’s giant proving ground in China this week.

Mr Chinnappa said the dual-cab megacab, which sits on a wheelbase about 300mm longer than the standard pick-up, offered tradies the advantage of extra tray length in a dual-cab vehicle.

He said this would appeal to tradies such as concreters wanting to cart items such as concrete mixers and long items “without it all hanging out the back”, while also being able to transport the family.

As the standard dual-cab T60 is 5.3 metres long, the megacab might push 5.6 metres.

Mr Chinnappa said the towing capacity of the vehicle was still to be set for the Australian version, but he said he hoped it would be above three tonnes.

The 4x4 system will be equipped with low range, as well as off-road aids such as hill descent control and hill holder.

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