LDV plan to make big impact with new models
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One of the world's largest vehicle manufacturers, LDV, came to Auckland last week to spread the message that it intends to make a big impact on this country's motor industry.
More than 200 LDV fans, dealers, customers and close to 70 guests from China were at the Langham Hotel for the unveiling of three new vehicles -- the T60 ute, a large 7-seater luxury SUV, the D90, and a fully electric transport van.
The first two vehicles were treated to a dramatic unveiling ceremony. One could not help being swept up in the patriotic rally of enthusiasm for a product that will start to challenge how New Zealanders perceive a Chinese-made vehicle.
LDV decribed the T60 ute as a "true challenger to the Ford Ranger". First impressions are that it has some potential, but it's a big call as Ford has been in New Zealand for more than a century, and LDV arrived here only in 2014.
However, in that short time, LDV sales have rivalled Ford's in the mass transport section.
The D90 has a similar look to the recent Toyota Land Cruiser, without the large V8 engine. It has all the extras you would associate with a large luxury SUV, bar the price.
Which leads to one of the issues with the LDV brand ... or perhaps it's a benefit? Prices for large luxury SUV's are usually on the hard side of $100,000, but the price for the D90is expected to be much lower than six figures.
The T60 price has been set at $28,990 plus GST. You get a 4WD ute for a price that most Japanese manufactures can't beat with their 2WD variants.
Price point will be a challenge many New Zealanders have to come to grips with as, historically, cheap Chinese goods have meant cheap quality.
But now cheap will mean 'inexpensive' as there is quality in the LDV brand. LDV has spent considerable time developing a product for the international market. What the Chinese also do well is deliver that product at a fraction of the cost.
And then there's the other elephant in the room, its ANCAP rating. LDV is confident it will get five stars, and backs its vehicles with a five-yea,r 130,000km warranty.
LDV is putting in a huge effort here. In 1960, no one wanted to buy a Japanese car, and in 1980, no one wanted to buy a Korean car. It was probably true that 10 years ago Chinese cars were not particularly sort after, but the Chinese motor industry is accelerating faster than those Asian nations combined.
Driven will test drive the T60 ute and D90 SUV in the next few weeks.