The recently concluded Shanghai International Motor Show gave visitors a lot of new experience. China has become the main automotive broker and the powerhouse of automotive manufacturing.If you follow the development of the Chinese motor industry over the past 3 years, you will notice that more famous brands from Europe, England and the USA are finding their way to China. The auto tsunami has broken and swept away many British and American motors to mainland China, either relocation of plants, merger with the Chinese or being bought over by the Chinese. Similarly the Maxus LDV was dead in England and is given a new life in China.
SAIC just launched its new Maxus van identified as Maxus V80 in Shanghai. When it was first shown to the public at Shanghai International Auto Show recently, the Maxus retains its original features, its large front bumper, headlight and grille and has not changed much from its original incarnation. Everything including the dimensions except the logo, is the same.
The 2.5 litre diesel turbo commonrail engine that comes from VM Motori products is already a proven engine. The Maxus maintains the Italian engine and the Korean transmission as the powerline package. It has a front engine and front wheel drive layout, ABS, EBD system and airbags.The 5 speed transmission is manual and possibly auto transmission is coming in near future. But I like the 6 speed manual transmission offered by SAIC and hope it will be our latest offering for the Malaysians. Until the model lands here at Port Klang I would not try to excite you or anyone else more than you and I know. I could not confirm until the order is put in the pipeline.
The Maxus V80 has two wheel bases either a long wheel base or a short wheel base, single or double sliding side doors. Eventhough SAIC has developed 24 basic models and 96 variants, they are probably for the Chinese local market and perhaps some for European market. Malaysian market is unique and we believe we are able to produce our own local variants based on specific demand. The big van enthusiasts will tend to agree with me that Maxus is in no way competing with Era JinBei, Era Komuter, Nissa Urvan,Toyota Hiace, Hyundai Starex or Kia Pregio. Most likely competitors are the Vito, Ford Transit ,Iveco and Sprinter. However, these later models are available in CBU. For our interest we may consider MB Sprinter and Vito, Joylong Era Komuter and Era JinBei,Toyota Hiace and Nissan Urvan to be in same category with Maxus and they are the main leading competitors in the Malaysian market for big size commercial van. Record shows that demand for Toyota Hiace and Nissan Urvan have been increasing from 2007 until 2010.The van market is growing rapidly and new competitors are entering the market. To be a leader in this category, Weststar needs to get the volume. For that Weststar Maxus has to adopt more blue ocean strategies.
The Maxus may be considered as light duty vehicle grossing maximum to 3500 kg.There is also unavoidable price competition between vehicles within this category.This requires us to be more strategic in marketing the products. It is the technology and more advance technological requirement couple with high safety features that could push Maxus forward and up in the market. Proven technology is already embedded in it and new technologies are being incorporated to make it even stronger and more appealing. Maxus has the strength in terms of strong brand name and innovativeness. There are plenty of opportunities like greater market segments, arrival of new technologies, relaxed regulations and new international market. But Weststar has to deter threats and make significant improvement especially in the processes and after sales services.