DFSK has launched its new C series range at the CV Show, which is larger than its previous compact van offerings.
It represents a significant move for the Chinese manufacturer into the mainstream LCV market.
Prices start at £10,995 for the C35 van and C31 single cab dropside, with the C32 double cab dropside costing £11,995 and the five seat C35 crewvan up for £12,995.
Overall dimensions are bigger than the current K series range and the C series has more space for loads and can handle greater weights.
Peter Seaward, head of marketing for DFSK UK, said: "The van market is very saturated and it is difficult for a smaller company to compete. The new range gives us a more competitive market position but still retains the unique offering of DFSK products."
The narrow dimensions of the DFSK range means it can reach areas that conventional commercial vehicles cannot. The vans are targeted at both rural and inner city tradesmen where both access and parking can be a problem.
Seaward told Commercial Fleet: "The biggest challenge for us currently is awareness. The increasing success of LDV is making Chinese vans more popular but we have a long way to go." Currently the vehicles are sold through a dealer network of 43. DFSK aims to grow this number to 75 within twelve months.
The C series range is powered by a 1.5 litre VVTi petrol engine, mounted under the front seats. It develops 115 bhp and returns an average 37 mpg and co2 emissions of 187g/km. There are no plans to offer a diesel, as the vehicles are designed for shorter trips, but we were told that a diesel engine could be fitted if requested.
DFSK believes the C31 will be the most popular model and is most similar to its previous best-seller, the K series Loadhopper.
The C series range will be on sale from mid-June and is available with a number of accessories including a ladder rack, roof bars and a work cage.