LDV is on a new product splurge, releasing electric versions of the T60 ute and Deliver 9 large van, as well as a new-generation people mover in the form of the Mifa and its Mifa 9 EV spin-off.
This is thanks to an expansive catalogue of products which LDV draws from its Maxus donor brand in China, which acts as the commercial and off-road alternative to the more passenger-focused MG. Both are owned by Shanghai’s SAIC Motor.
Now with six distinct model lines in Australia, can this Chinese-backed upstart go even further and start to step into the same passenger car territory as its MG sister brand?
One of the few products it doesn’t offer from its overseas catalogue is the mid-size D60 SUV, which sits beneath the current D90 large SUV. Significantly smaller in footprint than the enormous D90 and with the option of three different seat layouts across three rows and more new-age cabin tech, the D60 could promise to be yet another volume seller for the brand.
Overseas it ships with a 119kW/250Nm 1.3-litre turbocharged engine which may be considered a bit underpowered for our market, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. It costs from the equivalent of roughly A$25,000.
Interestingly, it also has a Mifa 6 electrified spin-off, powered by a 130kW/310Nm motor with a 520km range according to the CLTC standard in fully electric form, or with a combined output of 180kW/385Nm from both the 1.3-litre turbo engine and electric motor as a plug-in hybrid, with a claimed 62km of all-electric driving range.
Sadly though, speaking to CarsGuide at the launch of the eT60 ute, eDeliver 9 van, and Mifa 9 people mover, LDV local general manager Dinesh Chinnappa said the family of mid-size SUVs were ruled out. At least for now, and it wasn’t because LDV might be stepping into MG’s territory either.
“They [Maxus] have told us it’s not available,” he said. “We would have offered it two years ago, we would have loved to have taken it, but we were told it wasn’t going to be built in right-hand drive.
“As for MG, we’re happy to compete in Australia, SAIC knows that and they’re happy to back both brands.”
It is a case of never say never for the leftover products offered by Maxus in China though, with Mr Chinnappa going on to explain how the brand’s relative success in Australia has been noticed by the manufacturer.
“We’re important. They listen to us. On the next-gen ute for example they came to us a year and a half ago asking us what we wanted to have,” he said.
Expect big things for the future of commercial-vehicle focused LDV though, with Mr Chinnappa also not ruling out more exciting variants of the next-generation T60 ute despite implying that hardcore off-road versions of the current T60 and D90 in China wouldn’t be making their way Down Under.
Keyword: A mid-size SUV for LDV? Haval H6 and MG HS PHEV safe for now as LDV keeps focus on commercial offerings