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Chinese LDV vans set for the road

Red October: The final paperwork for the LDV van distribution deal in Australia is signed off by WMC’s Jason Pecotic, SMCV managing director Lan Qingsong and SACO general manager Zhengrong Zhang.

October sales launch for LDV V80 van range a done deal with China’s SAIC

20 Jul 2012

VANS from China’s biggest motor manufacturer are locked and loaded for launch in Australia in October after a formal sign-off ceremony in China this week.

A shipment of 120 LDV V80 vehicles produced by Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC) subsidiary Motor Commercial Vehicle Company (SMCV) will kick off the latest Chinese brand to arrive in Australia through a 45-dealer network.

Importer WMC Group inked the multi-year contract to distribute the Chinese-built vans from LDV on Wednesday, adding the marque to its other Chinese brands Higer and JAC.

The vans were to have been sold under the Maxus brand in Australia, but as GoAuto reported early this month, WMC dropped that name because of a trademark clash with a range of aftermarket truck components.

Instead, WMC and its Chinese partner reverted to the original British name for the company, LDV (Leyland DAF Vans), which SAIC bought in 2009 after the UK firm crashed in the global financial crisis.

The front-drive van was originally launched in the UK in 2005 as the LDV Maxus LD100, but has since been modified, with suspension tuned by Britain’s Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA).

Shanghai-based SAIC Motor is a major joint-venture partner with the two biggest western car-makers in China, General Motors and Volkswagen, producing 3.6 million vehicles last year.

48 center imageLeft: LDV V80.

The import deal, which has been in the pipeline for at least a year, was inked on Wednesday in Shanghai by WMC CEO Jason Pecotic, SMCV managing director Lan Qingsong and Shanghai Automobile Import and Export Company (SACO) general manager Zhengrong Zhang.

Mr Pecotic said the multi-year arrangement signalled the Chinese company’s confidence in the Australian distributor.

“I believe we have demonstrated our enthusiasm and professionalism for the LDV van during the past few months as preparations for the launch of the new vehicles has been underway, and this has given SMCV the confidence to agree to a long-term agreement,” he said.

“Commercial-in-confidence (clauses) precludes us from revealing the exact term of the agreement.

“Suffice to say that, so long as performance requirements are met, WMC Group will be distributing SMCV product in Australia for most of the next decade.”

Mr Lan said Australia was an important new market for SMCV and the LDV brand.

“The extensive work WMC Group has put into preparing for the launch of the brand has set the foundation for a very successful future,” said Mr Lan.

A pair of V80 vans in two roof heights were displayed at a truck show in Melbourne in March.

They were designed and engineered in the UK before the Chinese takeover, and will be imported in cargo van and passenger minivan variants initially, with other variants – including a cab-chassis ute – to arrive later.

The vans will both be powered by a 2.5-litre VM Motori diesel engine producing 100kW and 330Nm of torque.

Standard features include rear barn doors, tyre-pressure monitoring, 16-inch alloy wheels, dual sliding doors and door-integrated electric entry steps.

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