LDV, once one of the major brands in the UK van market, is returning after a seven-year absence with a pair of unveilings at the CV Show.
The G10 panel van and MPV, and the EV80, described as the first Chinese production-ready, all-electric, light-duty van, headline one of the largest stands at the show as LDV seeks to re-establish itself on the UK market under the ownership of the Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation.
LDV was once the light commercial department of UK automotive giant British Leyland. Merged with Leyland Trucks and DAF Trucks in 1987 it became LDV – Leyland DAF Vans Ltd – in 1993 as the result of a management buy-out following DAF’s bankruptcy.
LDV itself went into administration in 2005, and was acquired by the Russian GAZ Group in 2006, but expansion plans were halted by the recession and production at LDV’s factory in Birmingham stopped in 2008. Eventually the assets were bought by SAIC Motor in 2010.
The new EV80 is said to have an industry-leading battery range of up to close to 220 miles on a single charge, which its creators believe make it the perfect city vehicle. It will be available in short and long wheelbase panel van variants and a chassis cab with a rated payload ranging from 900 to 1250kg.
The G10 panel van and MPV make their European debuts in Birmingham. The panel van will be offered with a 2-litre turbodiesel while the MPV is fitted with a 105bhp turbo petrol unit. Notable aspects of the model include chassis turning by roadholding specialist Lotus.
Early in 2016 SAIC appointed one of Ireland’s oldest automotive distributors, The Harris Group, as the UK & Ireland distributor for LDV commercial vehicles and according to general manager Mark Barrett the relaunch of the brand is going well.
“The response from dealers to the re-launch of LDV both in the UK and Ireland has been phenomenal,” Barrett says.
“We are well ahead of our forecasts with almost 40 dealers on board, 11 of whom are in the UK with many more signings imminent in the UK and Ireland,” he adds.
Photos: Andrew Charman