The van manufacturer’s stand at the recent Commercial Vehicle Show was plastered with Maxus signage and the LDV letters were missing from all models on display.
The change will lead to the gradual rebranding of signage and new models at LDV’s UK network of 75 retail dealers and 132 servicing and parts centres, according to Chris Shenton, head of LDV for Thomas Hardie, which has seven LDV dealerships.
He said: “I think the focus on the Maxus is a positive move for the brand.
“It marks a new generation of models and the next step for the company.
The Maxus name is well known throughout Europe.
“It’s only in the UK and Holland that the LDV name is on the models.”
Shenton said: “The change in signage isn’t something that’s a major priority at the moment. It will be a gradual process and the change will be almost seamless.”
Industry observers believe replacing the LDV brand is an attempt to distance the present business from its chequered history.
One told AM: “LDV was refinanced in 2003 and went into administration in 2005.
Then it was rescued by private equity investors and sold to GAZ, its current owners. All those changes caused a lot of uncertainty in the market.
“Now GAZ has got it into profit and is moving forward so it makes sense to quietly bury LDV as a retail brand in favour of Maxus.”
LDV had not returned AM’s calls as we went to press.
Maxus’s presence at the Commercial Vehicle Show was marked by a number of bespoke variants, hinting at LDV’s targeting of a market segment worth £4 million for vehicles going to the Home Office, Ministry of Defence and UK emergency services.
It also demonstrated its ability to custom-fit vehicles for retail buyers, and detailed the Maxus One customer support programme.
Evgeniy Vereshchagin, LDV Group’s newly-appointed chief executive, said the company had made solid progress since its acquisition by Russian group GAZ in 2006, including introducing 51 derivatives of Maxus, expanding the UK network by a quarter and increasing UK Maxus registrations by 30%.
Vereshchagin added that the Birmingham plant will export around 5,000 vehicles this year, and sales in Asia are improving. #AM_ART_SPLIT# Partnership with motorhome company sees launch of Maxus AVP designed for weekend tourists
LDV is driving Maxus into a new market segment. It has formed a partnership with motorhome company BluCamp to create the Maxus AVP range.
Like the Volkswagen California, Maxus AVP will target action sports enthusiasts and couples wanting a weekend touring vehicle.
It can be specified as a two-berth with a steel roof and storage box or with a glass ‘moon-roof’, or as a four-berth with a roof which raises to provide a second double bed. All variants have a gas hob, fridge, sink, storage cupboards and main electricity hook-up.
Andrew Hunter, a director of BluCamp, said the Maxus AVP offers good profit opportunities for LDV dealers.
Priced from £27,000, it undercuts the California by around £8,000.
Hunter said 20 orders have already been received.
AVP will also be sold through the BluCamp network as it is an ‘ opt-in’ product for LDV dealers.