Eco Concept Limited (formerly Leyland DAF Vans then LDV Group Limited) is a British van manufacturer, based in the Ward End area of Birmingham.
In its history part of Rover Group and Leyland DAF, was latterly a wholly owned subsidiary of the Russian GAZ group. Owing to the worldwide recession and a lack of long term investment, production was halted at LDV’s Birmingham factory in December 2008.
After a series of failed rescue attempts in 2009, the assets of the company were sold by administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers to China Venture’s firm Eco Concept, on 15 October 2009.
LDV was formed in 1993 as Leyland DAF Vans Limited following a management buy-out of DAF NV‘s Leyland DAF van manufacturing division, following the bankruptcy of the Dutch company. Later the name was officially changed to LDV Limited.
Prior to its merger with Leyland Trucks and DAF Trucks in 1987 it was part of the British Leyland / Austin Rover Group empire and was latterly the Freight Rover arm of the Land Rover Groupdivision.
In December 2005, after going into administration, LDV was bought by group Sun Capital Partners/Sun European Partners and was subject to a financial restructuring. What Van reported LDV’s commitment to its existing customers, including an assurance from their marketing director that their production target of 1000 vans per month would put them well above break-even point.
The Russian GAZ Group acquired LDV on 31 July 2006, and also established a new company, GAZ International, based in the UK, to focus on the automotive industry. The BBC reported that a GAZ spokesperson said that the company had appointed former Ford of Europe executive Martin Leach and former A.T. Kearney executive Steve Young to run the business, and that it planned to expand production at LDV’s Birmingham plant by adding new product lines and entering new markets in Europe and elsewhere. GAZ had plans to export LDV technology to Russia, and start producing the Maxus at the GAZ Nizhny Novgorod plant in Russia with 50,000 as an initial volume. (http://www.autoindustry.co.uk/news/05-11-07_4) There were also proposals to export the GAZ Maxus to Australia, a traditional market for British Leyland.
However, GAZ’s plans never really showed any increased output, and due to the severe worldwide recession and a lack of long term investment and commitment, production was halted at LDV’s Birmingham factory in December 2008.
After the UK Government tried once again to save the company by agreeing to pour in £5 million of grants to enable Malaysia‘s WestStar Corporation to purchase LDV, WestStar failed to secure financing.
The assets of the company were sold by administrators PricewaterhouseCoopers to Chinese Firm ECO Concept, on 15 October 2009, and then sold to SAIC Motor in 2010.
LDV produced a range of panel vans, pick-ups and minibuses, all available with various modifications and specifications. LDV’s main customers were large British corporations, such as theRoyal Mail, National Grid plc and many other utility companies, which were politically persuaded to buy British-built vehicles.
1975 Freight Rover Leyland AM Sherpa Camper Van Retro LDV Spares or Repair
Up until early 2006, LDV produced the Convoy and Pilot, derived from the venerable British Leyland Sherpa, and developed considerably throughout the 1970s–90s, and which are a common sight in the UK.
Between 1996 and 2001 LDV sold the Cub, a badge engineered Nissan Vanette.
2005 LDV Maxus 2.8 CDi 95 SWB
The last range of vans, the Maxus, was introduced in 2005. The Maxus was originally planned as a joint venture with Daewoo of South Korea. Daewoo however, went into receivership in 2000 before the project came to fruition. LDV subsequently acquired the exclusive rights to the van from General Motors, who had taken over Daewoo, and purchased the existing tooling and shipped it all to Birmingham from the Daewoo plant in Poland where the van was originally intended to be built. The Maxus was fitted with direct injection, common rail, diesel engines supplied by VM Motori.