FRESH from launching its five-star safety rated T60 Ute, Chinese manufacturer LDV is rolling out new dealerships across Queensland and northern New South Wales.
LDV has gained credibility with G10 and V80 vans and people movers in the metropolitan areas, but the arrival of the all-new T60 last month will be accompanied by a growing regional footprint.
This year has seen new LDV dealers opening in Rocklea, Maroochydore, Springwood and Tamworth. These are set to be followed by new showrooms in Cairns, Coffs Harbour, Mackay and Kedron in coming months.
"Until the arrival of the T60 Ute LDV has been all about vans and people movers, so we have concentrated our dealers where van buyers live and work - in Australia's big cities,” LDV Automotive Australia general manager Dinesh Chinnappa said.
"With T60 Ute everything changes, not only are there considerably more ute buyers, some 26 per cent of the market and growing, compared just two per cent for the van market, they are also spread right across the country.
"This means that our dealer group must both expand in numbers and its reach across the country. This is especially true of Queensland and northern New South Wales, with their spread of major regional centres and the importance of Utes in those markets.”
The new dealerships represent considerable financial investments and the creation of new jobs in a wide range of roles when a new dealership opens its doors.
"The roll out of these new dealerships are very carefully structured to ensure that the new businesses are viable,” says Mr Chinnappa.
"The new regional dealers benefit the metro dealers as it is important for a dealer in Brisbane, for example, to be able to say to a prospective customer that there is string of LDV dealers all along the Bruce Highway to Cairns, down the Pacific Highway to Sydney or on the Newell to Victoria and beyond. We want our new dealer roll out to be beneficial to all the network and customers as whole and to ensure the brand grows in line with new products and increased demand.”
LDV arrived in Australia in 2015 with first the LDV V80 medium and large van range, followed by the G10 one tonne van and seven and nine seat people movers.
The fledgling marque has seen a 40 per cent increase in sales in 2016 and so far this year it has maintained that 40 per cent sales lift compared to last year. That increase doesn't include the impact the LDV T60 is set to have and it will be followed by an all new full-size SUV, the LDV D90, in November.
T60 set a new benchmark for Chinese utes during ANCAP testing, scoring a high 35.46 out of 37 points in a series of crash tests on the way to its five-star rating.
Significantly, only the Mazda BT-50 (35.72), Mitsubishi Triton (36.22) and Ford Ranger (36.72) outscore the LDV T60 in the double-cab ute category.
The T60 has a 2.8-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel developed by Italy's VM Motori, but made in China.
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