DFSK Launch Mini Vans

DFSK Launch Mini Vans

Vestatec Automotive Distribution Ltd. is the official United Kingdom and Ireland importer and distributor for the Chinese mini van manufacturer, DFSK.

DFSK will be launching a range of Mini Vans and Pick-ups into the UK market in October 2011.  The range will be initially sold through 40 dealers and will be given the sub-brand name of Loadhopper.

DFSK Background

  • DFM (Dongfeng Motor Group, China) was originally founded in 1969
  • Dongfeng are one of China’s top three vehicle manufacturers and sold almost two million vehicles last year with a 10.8% share of the Chinese domestic market
  • Yuan Vehicle Co Ltd established a joint venture with Dongfeng Motor Corporation in 2003 and commenced production of mini vans and trucks. The company changed its name to DFSK in 2010
  • DFSK has 6 Chinese manufacturing sites – 3 in Chongqing and 3 in Hu Bei province; producing mini vans, motorcycles quad bikes and shock absorbers
  • DFSK have gained international quality and environmental certificates : ISO9001, 3C and Environmental Certification ISO12000
  • The current range of mini vehicles are to be sub-branded Loadhopper in the UK


DFSK UK is the trading name of Vestatec Automotive Distribution Ltd, a new company, established specifically to import and distribute DFSK mini vans. VAD is based in Swindon, UK and is led by Jim Tyrrell, Chairman, who was previously Managing Director of Mitsubishi Motors in the UK.  In addition Bart Raats has been appointed as Managing Director.  Bart has 20 years automotive experience with Mitsubishi and Renault in a variety of sales and marketing positions.The DFSK UK team is a small unit of automotive professionals with a wide range of experience gained both within dealerships and manufacturer head offices across both Europe and the UK.

About Vestatec

  • Established 1987
  • Vestatec is a leading automotive parts manufacturer and aftermarket distributor of vehicle components to Tier 1 car manufacturersOE and Accessories clients include : Aston Martin, Bentley, Jaguar/Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Renault, Subaru, Suzuki, Toyota, VAG, Unipart, Caterpillar
  • Committed to Quality – Certified to the TS16949 quality system and the ISO14001 Environmental Standard
  • Project management team with high level of production design and manufacturing experience


Business Strategy and Objectives

The historical market for mini vans and mini van-derived vehicles was approximately 7,000 units.  The main players in the market have been the Suzuki Carry, Bedford Rascal, Daihatsu Hijet.  There have been no vehicles in this sector of the UK market for approximately five years.DFSK plan to sell in excess of 1,000 vehicles in the first year rising to 5,000 throughout the next 5 years.  Over 60% of the vehicles sold will be the van model. 

Dealer Network

VAD will initially recruit 40 dealers for the UK market.  26 dealers have been appointed to date. DFSK plans to be a bolt-on to an existing dealer operation.  Dealers will mainly be small independent operators, many with previous experience with small vans, either from Suzuki, GM, Mitsubishi, Honda or Daihatsu.  In addition, some dealers will have a broader commercial vehicle offering.  Most dealers will already represent one or two existing brands.DFSK will not require high levels of initial investment.  Dealers will run two demonstrators and display two further vehicles in outside display areas.Dealers appear very excited by the prospect of being in at the beginning of a new Chinese brand in the UK.  Many are drawing parallels with the entry of the Japanese brands in the 1970s.

Jack Arkley - Dealer Operations Manager said:

“We are very pleased with the high level of interest received from the dealers we have contacted and the number of enquiries taken from interested parties who have heard about our plans in the UK and recognise the incredible opportunity that this represents.”

Product Information

DFSK will launch with the following range of vehicles;

  • Loadhopper Single Cab Pickup £6,999
  • Loadhopper Van £7,999
  • Loadhopper Double Cab Pickup £8,999
  • Loadhopper Tipper £9,999


These models all have the same platform and power train.  Key benefits of these vehicles are:

  • Short overall length
  • Small overhang
  • Large load volume
  • Good payload
  • Small turning circle
  • Two side loading doors (on the Van model)

All DFSK Loadhopper vehicles conform to EC 2007/46 Whole Vehicle Type Approval. The prices shown are exclusive of VAT. All vehicles will also be subject to a Delivery Charge of £499 which will cover costs of delivery, first service at 1,000 miles or 2 months whichever comes first, PDI, Government Road Fund Licence and First Registration Fee.

Target Customers

Target customers will fall into two main groups: 

  • Small traders such as gardeners, florists, bakers, sandwich and food delivery companies
  • Local councils.  

It is estimated that there are some 40,000 similar vehicles on the road and interest has been very high from existing mini van owners who now urgently need replacement vehicles. All vehicles will be sold with a Three Year Warranty as standard, the first two years with unlimited mileage and the third year providing cover up to 60,000 miles.

Service Costs

Customers can take advantage of a 3 Year Loadhopper Care Plan which will cover labour costs and standard service items in addition to roadside assistance for the first three services for just £399 plus VAT.

Future Product

A new model, called the V series will be launched during 2012.  In addition, a range of electric mini-buses and vans is already developed and DFSK UK is now evaluating them for launch. 

In summary

DFSK is a small but experienced team, based in Swindon.  We are taking a traditional approach to distribution.  We believe customers are best served by having small independent, privately owned, local dealers. The initial launch stock has now been shipped. The dealer launch event took place on 14th September and dealers will commence sales in October. Many dealers have already commenced pre-launch activities and are taking orders.

Jim Tyrrell – Executive Chairman said. “This is a tremendous opportunity.  We are entering a new phase in the history of the UK vehicle market with the arrival of the first Chinese vehicles.  We believe we have found an outstanding partner in terms of product range and vision for the future”.

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