One of Ireland’s oldest automotive distributors has secured the distribution rights for both the UK & Ireland for LDV commercial vehicles. The Harris Group is bringing LDV back and marked its return with the launch today of the LDV V80, available in four models, including a chassis cab.
LDV vans are manufactured in China by SAIC Maxus (part of the Shanghai Automotive Industrial Corporation), a Fortune Global 500 company that builds over 6 million vehicles per year. SAIC is ranked 60th in the Fortune 500 Global survey at the end of 2015. In 2010, SAIC, the largest automotive company in China, acquired the LDV brand. By 2020, SAIC will have invested $2.2bn in growing and developing the LDV brand globally, including the launch of a new SUV, a 4×4 Pick-up and the all-new G10.
According to Liam O Neill, VP of the Harris Group, today’s launch is great news both for van drivers and for the future of the light commercial vehicle category in the U.K. and Irish markets.
“Commercial van sales were the first to go when the recession kicked in, but the market for this category has been revived with sales in Ireland growing by more than 40% in 2015, outperforming both the passenger and heavy vehicle categories,” said Mr. O Neill. “We anticipate significant further growth for 2016 and beyond and this positive prediction is shared by the team at SAIC Maxus, which is showing huge support for the re-launch of the LDV brand.
“It is a great honor for the Harris Group to have won the distribution rights for LDV from SAIC. There was very stiff competition for the distribution of the LDV brand from both the U.K. and Irish markets but I believe our team’s focus, along with our extensive network and our long-term plan for LDV, together with our passion to bring this iconic brand back to the market was a winning combination.
“There are a lot of similarities between how business is done in China and how it is conducted in our markets. Building strong, personal relationships that are built on mutual trust was critical to the success of the agreement. The fact that the Chairman of SAIC, Mr Lan Qingsong, the Deputy General Mr Xu Qiuhua and their senior colleagues from China have flown in to join us for today’s launch is testament to the company’s commitment to rebuilding the LDV brand. It is also indicative of the strong bond that has developed between our two companies.”
The Harris Group has already started building an LDV dealer network in both markets and the medium-term goal is to create a strategic network of dealers in the U.K. and Ireland.
“Today’s launch is phase one of LDV’s return to our markets. The V80 is a great van with all the right credentials,” continued O Neill. “I am confident that the future for LDV isn’t just bright, it’s shining and there are already a number of events planned for later this year. The Harris Group and SAIC will have a substantial stand at the CV show in Birmingham to showcase the LDV brand in April and has many other product offerings coming on stream right through to 2018, with the addition of new LDV variants including a G10 panel van and MPV, a 4×4 pick-up and an LDV SUV and the return of the much-loved LDV Minibus range”
The LDV V80 is currently available in four models; Short Wheel Base, Low Roof (SLR); Long Wheel Base, Medium Roof (MMR) and Long Wheel Base, High Roof (LHR) and Chassis Cab (CC) with a GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) of 3.200KG or 3.500KG
LDV V80 vans are powered by an advanced, economic 2.5-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine, designed by Italian engine manufacturer VM Motori. The engine produces up to 100 KW (136 BHP) of power and 330 Nm of torque transversely mounted on the frame front wheel drive. The engine employs a common rail fuel injection system for improved combustion efficiency, as well as low fuel consumption. The spec is completed with a very slick, dash mounted six speed gearbox.
The V80 offers car-like handling and driver comfort and is loaded with smart features such as rear parking sensors; Air Conditioning; Cruse Control; daytime running lights, mirror indicators and fog lamps.
There’s also the added benefit of recessed load tie down points and a heavy duty cargo mat. Two standard pallets can be carried in tandem in the load area of all models, courtesy of the 1380mm width between the wheel arches and rear barn doors that open to 270 degrees, which make for easier loading – particularly with a forklift. Its low floor clearance offers greater room, payload and ease of loading, so there’s an LDV for every job. LDV V80 is built for capacity and efficiency. Its large load area offers a substantial 6.4m3 of volume in the short wheel base model, which extends to a massive 10.4m3 and 11.6m3 on the long wheel base medium and high roof models respectively.
Standard safety equipment includes dual airbags, rear parking sensors and four wheel disc brakes with ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution). For both driver and passenger there’s no compromise on comfort, as the LDV V80 comes complete with air conditioning, remote keyless entry, radio with MP3 connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity, 8-way adjustable driver’s seat, power windows and electric heated mirrors.
The warranty on all LDV V80 vans is for five years or 200,000k and includes five years roadside assistance cover as standard.s