Chinese people-movers coming to Aus


China’s biggest automotive company is coming to Australia with a new range of European-designed, Chinese-built Maxus vans and people-movers

March 19, 2012

China's largest automotive player will enter the Australian market this year with a new range of passenger and cargo vans.

At the recent Melbourne Truck Trailer and Equipment Show, Shanghai Automotive Industry Company (SAIC) announced it would partner with Australian vehicle importer WMC to release a range of European-designed, Chinese-built Maxus vans and people movers.

WMC managing director Jason Pecotic says the Maxus range, which is set to challenge Japanese, Korean and European players, has potential for success in Australia.

"The Maxus range will go head to head with some established brands, but will offer more creature comforts as standard and a strong European feel," Pecotic says.

"Maxus will offer us enormous opportunities in Australia, broadening the appeal of our range particularly in speaking to fleets, whether on the cargo and work van side, or as a passenger-carrying mini bus."

"They also represent a real challenger in the upper end of the people mover MPV market, where they represent real value and serious alternative to Japanese and European models."

Pecotic says the Maxus vehicles will come with a high level of standard features
supporting the build-quality, design and positioning of the Maxus product.

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

Key SAIC executives flew into Melbourne for the Truck Show to announce the new Maxus range, which is expected to go on sale before the end of 2012.

The new generation of Maxus V80 vans are based on a front-drive platform developed in Britain by the former Leyland as the LDV, using the latest generation common rail turbo diesel power plants by Italian maker VM Motori.

SAIC purchased the British commercial vehicle operation and intellectual rights to the van from the company in 2009 and have invested in further research and development in engineering to ensure it meets the latest European standards.

WMC is planning to launch a seven model range of Maxus V80 vans from the fourth quarter of 2012, with three cargo versions and four passenger models.

The line-up will include a short wheelbase and long wheel base cargo van both with standard roof height as well as a high roof version of the long wheelbase model.

The range will feature load capacity of between nine and 14 cubic metres and a payload of up to 1.8 tonnes.

The four passenger van variants will include the 11-passenger short wheelbase with standard roof as well as a 15-passenger long wheel base variant in either standard roof or high roof configuration and an 11-passenger long wheel base luxury model.

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