New ute entry mocks high NZ prices
New Zealand’s importer of Chinese-built LDV vehicles is confident of a period of strong growth thanks to arrival of a new model in the country’s most crowded vehicle segment – utes.
The vehicle is the LDV T60, which is built in China by SAIC Motor Corporation Ltd, which owns the former British commercial vehicle brand LDV.
It will achieve sales growth in New Zealand because it is being offered at prices that make a mockery of the recommended retail prices of other utes currently on sale here, says Taupoheadquartered Great Lake Motor Distributors.
‘‘For too long New Zealanders have been paying too much for over-priced, over-hyped utes,’’ said LDV sales and marketing manager Warren Willmot at a function in downtown Auckland this week.
‘‘The T60 will re-set the ute market. This is a double-cab fourwheel drive model with all the required luxury and safety specification – we are confident it will soon be awarded a five-star Ancap crash rating – and it is being offered with far more reasonable prices.’’
All this was music to the ears of a big contingent of 50 Chinese journalists and numerous SAIC executives who had been specially flown to Auckland for a celebratory dinner to officially recognise the arrival of the T60, the brand’s first SUV the D90, and an all-electric version of the LDV V80 van, called EV80.
Great Lake Motor Distributors is a favourite with SAIC because New Zealand boasts easily the biggest market share in the world for the LDV vans, so it was no surprise when this year the company was named World Distributor of the Year.
Does this mean there’s now an expectation that Great Lake will do the same with the T60, which is the first of the three new LDV models to arrive in New Zealand? Could be.
This ute, which is available in double-cab 4WD 2.8-litre turbodiesel form, with six-speed manual and automatic transmissions, and with Elite and Luxury levels of specification, is being offered with retail prices ranging from $33,350 for an Elite manual through to $40,250 for a Luxury auto.
These are extremely favourable prices when compared to the bigselling Toyota Hilux and Ford Ranger utes which carry RRPs from $43,990 through to close to $70,000 for the double-cab 4WD wellside models.
Not only that, but the T60s are being offered with a five-year 130,000km factory warranty with roadside assist – and the warranty is transferrable when the ute is sold to new owners.
At the dinner, Great Lake managing director Rick Cooper described the ute market as the most crowded segment in New Zealand’s new vehicle market.
‘‘The competition is vibrant – which explains why seven of New Zealand’s 10 top-selling new vehicles are utes. With the T60 we want to increase that number to eight,’’ he said.
‘‘Our first two shipments of the ute were sold out before they arrived. A third shipment is selling out. We’re confident the T60 is good enough to secure a firm hold in the ute market.’’
The new D90 seven-seater SUV, which is powered by a 2-litre turbocharged petrol engine, is scheduled to be launched in New Zealand early next year. No prices have been announced for the vehicle, which was on display at the Auckland dinner.
Also on display was the EV80, which will be available as a panel van, a cab/chassis, and as a 10-seater minibus. This vehicle, which is expected to be on sale before the end of this year, will offer a range on a full charge of up to 180km.
SAIC is spending US$3 billion on electric vehicle development, Warren Willmot told guests. ‘‘They are putting China at the forefront of EV development – it’s very exciting.’’
At present LDV competes in 4 per cent of New Zealand’s new vehicle market with the G10 and V80 vans. Arrival of the ute, the SUV and the EV will increase the presence to 30 per cent.
‘‘All this means we’re on the brink of being a volume contender,’’ he added.
The LDV D90 SUV is expected to be launched in New Zealand early next year.