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LDV plans for expanded line-up

V max: The V80 will get an upgrade this year after going on sale in Australia in 2013.

T60 pick-up leading LDV growth but Ateco wants more models and variants

LDV logo15 Jun 2018

AUSTRALIAN importer Ateco Automotive plans to expand and tweak the line-up of its LDV brand as sales increase and its brand recognition continues to grow Down Under.
 
LDV has grown its line-up from the V80 mid-size van that was the sole offering when the brand launched under previous distributor WMC Group in 2013 – Ateco took over distribution in 2014 –  and now counts the V80 and G10 vans, the G10 people-mover, the T60 one-tonne pick-up and the family-friendly D90 SUV among its model lines.
 
Speaking with GoAuto at the Ram 1500 media launch in Sydney this week, Ateco Automotive Group managing director Roger Zagorski said there were plans to expand the LDV range beyond its current model and variant mix soon.
 
“There are other variants we are going to introduce within the T60 range,” he said. 
 
“There is a redesign of the V80 coming up. There is growth within the model ranges, in terms of engine transmission variants coming and going. And the D90 is only a fairly new product for us in that large-passenger segment SUV so, we think there is heaps of growth in LDV for us.”
 
Mr Zagorski admitted that, within the one-tonne pick-up segment, the 4x2 market was a challenge, and said the importer’s focus was squarely on the 4x4 offerings.
 
“It is a much larger segment that 4x4 segment,” he said. “For some reason the trucks don’t seem to be that much cheaper to produce between 4x2 and 4x4. And it is a very price sensitive segment in 4x2 with the cab chassis, so they are basically used as a price leader.
 
“We see plenty more growth in the 4x4 segment. There are good margins for the dealers in those as well. So it is more important for us to focus on that.”
 
LDV launched a 4x2 single-cab version of the T60 in March priced from $25,253 excluding on-road costs – a 4x4 version is available for $28,411 – but it has only found 14 homes to the end of March. 
 
Sales of the T60 4x4 have hit 992 in the same period. The T60 was launched in November last year initially in dual-cab, 4x4 guise only.
 
While the T60 trails all of its mainstream rivals in the 4x4 segment for sales – except the Mercedes-Benz X-Class that launched in April – it is a strong result for a new brand and new nameplate.
 
Mr Zagorski said there was potential for more growth with the T60 in Australia.
 
“Really we have only just scratched the surface with the T60. We launched it last last year, but it didn’t really start pushing hard until the beginning of this year. We went on TV from the second last week in January, and that had a first hit of sales.”
 
While LDV sales are starting to ramp up, Mr Zagorski said he was pleased with the growing brand awareness of LDV.
 
“When we took over distribution we only had the V80,” he said. “Then the G10 came along, but that is still a very small segment. What the T60 gives us is access to what is a quarter of the market – that 4x4 segment. All of a sudden you start putting those on the road, they become quite visible.
 
“Interestingly, even though we are selling quite well with T60, what I am noticing as a road user is the G10, they are quite visible. That’s one of these things in the industry where half of your future sales success is how visible your product is on the road today, because it reinforces that it is a mainstay brand.”
 
When asked if he was pleased that LDV was doing better in the market than Ateco’s former Chinese LCV brand Great Wall, Mr Zagorski said he took no satisfaction in the company’s slow sales and added that Ateco would be keen to offer to help Great Wall if they should need it.
 
“It is a reinforcer to the decisions we took when we were the distributor,” he said. “No door in our business is permanently shut. It doesn’t pay us to rub it in their faces. If there was an opportunity to help them in some way, we would love to. 
 
“The brand was fantastic for us. It was a good honest bottom of the market entrant and it did its job and it did it very well. It should come back. They have some good passenger cars under Haval brand as well, so they should be doing well. If there was an opportunity to help them, I am sure we would extend a handshake.”
 
Ateco imported Great Wall from 2009 to 2016 and sales peaked in 2012 with 12,139 units, but an ugly dispute between Ateco and Great Wall’s Chinese parent company brought sales to a halt from 2014 until it was taken over by a factory-backed distribution operation in 2016 that also included SUV brand Haval.
 
Great Wall has sold 215 4x2 and 4x4 Steeds so far this year, well off the pace of the T60, which has found a combined 1006 units.

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