China Watch : LDV back from the dead in Jiangsu Province
Ash Sutcliffe, China Car Times, 10th August, 2010
The LDV brand has a long history and not all of it is glorious. The brand’s roots date back to the Freight Rover vans sold under the then British Leyland banner and which, in turn, later became part of Leyland-DAF. LDV was subsequently acquired by the Russian GAZ Group in 2006.
However, despite the GAZ Group’s massive plans for LDV, one of which was to increase production across Europe and Russia, LDV eventually folded in late 2008 and the assets were sold to a Chinese venture company, Eco Concept Limited which, in turn, has a link or partnership with SAIC Motor. Eco Concept Limited is run by Dr. Qu Li, who once had a relationship with a former MG Rover Director and reportedly received £1.6 million in consultation fees from MG Rover Group Limited.
The production equipment from the former LDV factory in Washwood Heath, Birmingham has now been put into containers and shipped to the city of Wuxi in Jiangsu Province. Nanjing Automobile Corporation’s (NAC) factory in Wuxi was originally where production of the Seat Ibiza Mk1-based Soyat range was located. However, Soyat production ended when SAIC Motor took over NAC in early 2008 and it now seems that the LDV Maxus van is going back into production under SAIC Motor’s watch in Wuxi.
Interestingly, when SAIC Motor took over NAC, the company also gained control of the Nanjing-IVECO (Naveco) JV which produces the IVECO range of vans and minibuses for the Chinese market. However, with the introduction of LDV in China, IVECO may be pushed aside in favour of a new, self-developed brand. IVECO seem unwilling to put newer model vehicles into production in China, so this could be SAIC Motor’s way of pushing them aside to focus on their own ventures.
[Source: China Car Times]
[Editor’s Note: AROnline, though, notes that SAIC Motor and IVECO issued a Press Release stating that the two companies had “signed a framework agreement to further expand their cooperation” as recently as the 15th September, 2009.]