LDV vans launched in Australia

China’s largest automotive manufacturer, Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation (SAIC), has officially launched the first cargo van model designed for the Australian marketplace, the LDV V80.

Australian distributor WMC will initially focus on the V80 range before introducing a number of passenger carriers and cab/chassis models later in 2013. The initial line up will consist of a short wheelbase mid-roof van as well as high-roof and mid-roof versions of a longer wheelbase van – providing payloads between 1.3 and 1.8 tonnes and cubic capacities between nine and twelve cubic metres. These payloads would be higher than the current European, Japanese and Korean offering in Australia.

The 2.5 litre turbocharged and intercooled four cylinder diesel engine is from Italian manufacturer VM Motori and produces 100kW of power at 3500rpm and 330Nm of torque at 2200 rpm. A petrol engine is expected to be added later in 2013. The only transmission currently available is a five speed full synchro manual, although an automatic version is expected to be available later this year as well.

The list of standard equipment is based on SAIC's “one spec, one option” philosophy. Standard items include reversing sensors, cruise control, LED lights, alloy wheels, fog lights, power steering, air conditioning, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking and a 12 volt-220 volt AC inverter that can charge a laptop or even power a portable fridge.

Sliding side doors are fitted to each side and are wide enough to accommodate a standard sized pallet. The rear barn doors open to 180 degrees, again allowing good access for a fork lift to load and unload pallets. Safety items include four wheel disc brakes with ABS (anti-lock brakes), EBD (electronic brake force distribution) and BAS (brake assist system). Driver and passenger air bags are standard as well.

Neil Bamford, CEO of WMC said: “ We have a number of industries we are targeting, particularly tradesmen such as plumbers, carpenters, electricians etc and also major national rental and leasing companies.”

Recommended retail price for the Short Wheelbase model is $32,990, while the Long Wheelbase versions are $37,990 (medium roof) and $39,990 (high roof). “Price is important, but it’s not the only thing we are hanging our hat on,” commented Shannon Taylor, General Manager of WMC.

A full road test report will be included in the March issue of Prime Mover.

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