LDV returns to the UK and Ireland

Van manufacturer LDV has certainly had a turbulent history. Originally part of British Leyland, it was later known as Freight Rover before becoming a Leyland DAF offshoot in 1993. A management buy-out subsequently saw the name simplified from Leyland DAF Vans to LDV, but during 2005 the company entered administration.

A private equity firm stepped in, then soon afterwards LDV was sold to Russia's GAZ Group. Unfortunately things did not go well, because further financial woes saw the Birmingham factory close at the end of 2008.

Eventually, LDV's assets were acquired by SAIC Motor Corporation, the Chinese firm that incidentally also owns MG.

Production of the Maxus range moved to China in 2011, at which stage the vans received the V80 model title while 'Maxus' was elevated to brand status. All in all, a convoluted tale...

It's the Chinese-built V80 that Dublin-based importer Harris Group is now relaunching in the UK and Ireland. However, in common with some other territories such as Australia, the LDV marque (rather than Maxus) is being used for both markets.

LDV V80 Panel Van (2016) Range

The V80's design is almost a dozen years old and, apart from a revised grille, the looks are largely unchanged. Inside, a revamped dashboard retains a central instrument binnacle that still seems rather unergonomic.

Panel van customers will have a choice of low roof / short wheelbase, medium roof / long wheelbase and high roof / long wheelbase body styles. Chassis cab, crew cab and minibus versions are all due to be offered in the future.

Power comes from a 2.5 litre VM Motori four-cylinder turbocharged diesel engine. Mated to a six-speed manual transmission, its power and torque are rated at 134 bhp (100 kW / 136 PS) and 330 Nm (243 lb/ft) respectively.

Standard equipment is fairly generous. As well as twin rear doors and a single side sliding door, the list includes three cab seats, heated power-adjustable door mirrors, rear parking sensors, cruise control, air conditioning and Bluetooth connectivity.

To further sweeten the deal, LDV is selling the V80 with a five-year warranty. Nevertheless, prices and depreciation rates are surely going to be two major considerations for prospective buyers. For the time being at least, neither are known.

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