LDV has a long history, and not all of it is glorious. It was originally part of the Freight Rover series under the then British Leyland banner, which later became part of Leyland-DAF and then became part of the Russian GAZ group in 2006. Despite GAZ’s massive plans for LDV, one of which was to increase production across Europe and Russia, LDV eventually folded in late 2008 and was sold onto a Chinese venture group Eco Concept who in turn have a link or partnership with SAIC. Eco Concept is a group run by Dr. Li, who once had a relationship with a former Rover director who paid her Â£1.6 million in consultation fees.
The LDV factory was put into containers and shipped to Jiangsu’s Wuxi city which was originally the center of Nanjing Auto’s Soyat brand factory (which ended when SAIC took over Nanjing), and it seems as if the LDV Maxus van is going back into production under SAIC’s watch in Wuxi City.
When SAIC took over Nanjiing Auto they also gained control of the IVECO JV which produces the IVECO range of vans and MPV’s for the Chinese market, but with the introduction of LDV into China it could be that IVECO gets pushed aside in favor of a new self developed brand. IVECO seem unwilling to put newer model vehicles into production in China, so this could be SAIC’s way of pushing them aside to focus on their own ventures.
Previously on China Car Times we did show some pictures of possible designs for forth coming LDV vans, which makes it seem like SAIC is planning to rebuild the British Leyland empire, or as least the MG-Roewe empire. Will the LDV’s become Freight-Roewe? We can only hope.