Buyers of Chinese-built LDV utes will next year be able to pimp them up with New Zealand-made components to look like the factory concept pictured here.
It’s called the T60 Off-Road, a higher-riding version of the company’s new T60 double-cab ute that’s chockabloc with gear needed for the rough-and-tumble of all-terrain travel.
LDV parent SAIC Motor Corporation dressed up the ute for the Shangahi motor show earlier this year and confirmed that such a model would join the production range.
But SAIC didn’t stop at flashy add-ons – the T60 concept rides on adjustable suspension for an improved approach angle off-road, has underbody protection front to rear, heavy-duty bumpers with winch up front and tow shackles at the rear, and strengthened beams under the rear tray,
Other after-market bits include extra lighting, wheel-arch flairs, alloy wheels with off-road tyres, a roof-rack with light bar, and a snorkel.
SAIC executives said T60 Off-Road would be launched in China by the end of the year. It is also likely to be available in Australia, following the launch of the T60 range across the Tasman this week.
What sort of real-world modifications will flow through to the production model is not yet known, although it can be assumed they won’t be as extreme as the concept.
LDV and Ssangyong vehicles are handled in New Zealand by Taupo company Great Lake Motor Distributors, headed by former Taupo major Rick Cooper and his son Deon.
LDV’s sales and marketing manager in New Zealand, Warren Willmot, said he would use local after-market modifiers and suppliers to turn the four-wheel-drive double-cab T60 into a lookalike Off-Road model.
“We are a New Zealand company ourselves and we like to support other New Zealand companies,” he said. “We are working with accessory manufacturers such as Airplex, Fully Equipped, Ali-Arc Industries, Ute Master, Rhino Rack and many more.”
The T60 LDV ute comes with a five-year 130,000km factory warranty and enters one of the most crowded and competitive sectors of the market, where prices for special models go beyond $70,000.
Willmot said the new LDV will re-set the ute market in New Zealand. “For too long New Zealanders have been paying too much for over-priced, over-hyped utes,” he said.
“The T60 is being offered at far more reasonable prices. It’s double-cab four-wheel drive with all the required luxury and safety specification. We are confident it will soon be awarded a five-star ANCAP crash rating.”
The double-cab T60 runs a 2.8-litre turbo-diesel engine and is available with either six-speed manual or six-speed automatic gearboxes. The manual Elite is priced from $33,350 and the automatic Luxury from $40,250.