LDV T60 ute “the path of least resistance” in improving brand image, local distributor says

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Australia’s growing preference for SUVs might give the new LDV D90 a strong start, but the Chinese brand’s Australian distributor believes it is our other big love – utes – that will make the incoming T60 the star of the range.

At the Shanghai motor show this week, both the LDV T60 ute and D90 SUV were on display, and while both are likely to generate improved sales for the brand in Australia, the general manager for LDV at Ateco Automotive, Dinesh Chinnappa, said the T60 will be the ‘it’ car.

“For a new brand, in my opinion, I believe acceptance will be quicker in the commercial segment,” he said.

“Things like brand equity are less significant in the purchasing decision. For new brands, it’s a quicker start.”

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Above: LDV D90, Top: LDV T60

When it launches here in September, the LDV T60 will take on the country’s most popular car – the Toyota HiLux – along with the Ford Ranger, which has also enjoyed a great sales increase over the last couple of years.

Chinnappa added that getting buyers into showrooms for the T60 could then lead to more opportunities for other vehicles in LDV’s range like the G10 van and D90 – which will launch locally around the same time.

“Tradies talk to mothers, talk to brothers, talk to fathers,” he said. “It’s the path of least resistance.”

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Helping the Chinese ute to stand out from the crowd will be features like a 10-inch central infotainment display and a 360-degree surround camera system – both unique in the class.

Meanwhile, the D90 will compete with the likes of soft-roaders including the Kia Sorento and Mazda CX-9, along with other ute-based off-road wagons in the Ford Everest and Mitsubishi Pajero Sport.

Giving the D90 a point of difference over its competitors will be its BMW-like 12.3-inch central infotainment display and interconnected technologies like the personal assistant first seen in the Roewe RX5 ‘smartcar’ – though it’s unknown just how many, if any, of these internet-based systems will make it to Australian models.

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These two vehicles are different to anything that’s come out of China, because they’re loaded up with technology,” Chinnappa said.

“[Features] that are typically regarded as very high-end,” namely referring to the T60’s surround camera system and the connected technologies that could be offered on both models.

Powering the T60 ute will be a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine, developing 110kW of power and 360Nm of torque, while the D90 will only be available at launch with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with 165kW of power and 360Nm of torque.

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CarAdvice recently had the chance to have a quick drive of the T60, along with a close-up look of the D90 at last week’s Shanghai motor show. First impressions of both vehicles are quite promising, and both should be very competitive provided LDV gets the price right.

Stay tuned for more LDV updates over the coming months in the lead-up to the T60 and D90’s local launch in late September.