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Sales are booming for this under-the-radar Chinese large SUV

The LDV D90 seven-seat SUV has been quietly building after a slow start, and is now one of the fastest-growing vehicles in terms of sales.

Mike Costello
Mike Costello
News Editor
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It doesn’t have a high profile in the market, but the LDV D90 seven-seat SUV is quietly storming up the charts so far in 2022 – to the point where it has outsold some better-known models such as the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Australian market sales data shows that 1844 LDV D90s have been sold to the end of May, up 285.8 per cent over the same period in 2021. That means its market share of the mainstream large SUV segment has more than tripled from 1.1 per cent to 3.7 per cent year-to-date.

The D90’s 1844 sales so far this year have it ahead of some pretty well-known competitor products including the Hyundai Palisade (1776) and Santa Fe (1589), Jeep Grand Cherokee (949), and Skoda Kodiaq (533). It’s also not a million miles from the Toyota Fortuner (2259).

Expect the growth curve to continue, given its momentum has been increasing as the year progresses. The D90 found 477 buyers in May, up 418.5 per cent, and the company has a short-term target of around 500 sales per month – stock levels permitting.

The LDV brand is part of Shanghai-based company SAIC Motor, which also owns MG. But in Australia the two brands have different importers: in the case of MG it’s an in-house operation, whereas LDV uses independent distributor Ateco, which also handles Renault and Maserati here.

LDV is better-known for its budget commercial vehicles: the T60 dual-cab ute, the G10 mid-sized van, and the larger Deliver 9. By contrast, the D90 is targeted fairly and squarely at value-conscious family buyers.

The D90 may seem like a bit of an overnight success, but it’s been on sale for some time – since the end of 2017 to be specific. Its full-year sales since then have been just 262 units (2018), 264 units (2019), 715 units (2020), and 1576 (2021).

In the early days it was hobbled by lack of supply, which has evidently improved.

“It’s a phenomenally good value seven seat SUV… we’ve just scratched the surface,” contends LDV Australia’s general manager Dinesh Chinnappa, speaking with CarExpert this week, adding that LDV was nevertheless not immune to global supply chain issues – which, it seems, are biting harder on the T60 ute right now.

The LDV D90 range opens at $36,990 drive-away for the petrol 2WD, topping out at $49,990 drive-away for the flagship Executive diesel 4WD. Prices across the board will climb by $1000 from July 1.

Engine choices are a 160kW and 350Nm 2.0-litre petrol, or a 158kW and 480Nm 2.0-litre diesel. The petrol is available in either rear-wheel drive or 4WD with a six-speed automatic, while the diesel is 4WD-only, uses an eight-speed auto, and has a 3.1-tonne towing capacity.

At a claimed 5005mm long and 1932mm wide, it’s actually a smidgen larger in both areas than a Toyota Prado or Isuzu MU-X, and all grades have seven seats. It was also among the first Chinese cars to manage a five-star ANCAP crash rating, achieving the feat back in 2017.

All D90 grades come with six airbags, blind-spot monitoring, lane-departure warning, adaptive cruise control, a proximity key, a 220V power outlet, 12-inch touchscreen, and Apple CarPlay. LDV also provides a five-year and 130,000km warranty.

We’re working on getting our hands on a LDV D90 to bring you a review to let you know if we think it’s actually any good, so stay tuned on that front.

MORE: Chinese brands overtake Subaru and Honda as market evolves

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Mike Costello
Mike Costello
Mike Costello is the News Editor at CarExpert.
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