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LDV set to go global

British van maker LDV is promising to double production at its Birmingham plant in the next year and become a global player.

The firm was taken over by Russian conglomerate GAZ nine months ago and has since seen a spectacular rise in sales.

Speaking at the CV Show at the NEC in Birmingham last week, LDV chief executive Steve Young said: "Since our takeover, we first had to restore the confidence in both customers and dealers after a pretty rocky time. We now have honest and open relationships with both and our sales in 2007 are up 76% year-on-year."

Young said the doubling of production would be as a result of kits of the Maxus being made in Britain to be assembled in Russia and also the opening up of new markets in Malaysia, which would eventually spread across Asia and into Australia and New Zealand.

He added: "Production will double this year on the back of these exports. This is good news for us and good news for the UK. In August we were producing 150 Maxus models per week and now this has risen to 286."

The firm’s global ambitions were outlined by GAZ president Eric Eberhardson. He said: "GAZ is the eighth largest commercial vehicle maker in the world and we are now aiming for number five.

"We have invested £50 million in LDV and our development so far has been spectacular. We are assembling kits made in Britain in our factory near Moscow but from next year we will duplicate Maxus production in Russia. This is just the beginning."

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