The Chinese joined forces with the Irish in Dublin recently for the relaunch of the LDV (Leyland DAF ) vans, with the new V80 range.
Originally founded in 1993, Irish buyers might recall that LDV vans were produced in Birmingham until 2008 when the recession halted production and closed the plant. The last registrations in Ireland were in 2009.
LDV is now owned and manufactured by SAIC, a Fortune 500 company that builds more than six million vehicles each year in China. SAIC also owns MG, and builds cars in conjunction with Volkswagen and General Motors in China for the Chinese market.
SAIC has just awarded the distribution rights for Britain and Ireland to the Harris Group, one of Ireland’s oldest, family-owned automotive distributors, located on the Naas Rd in Dublin. Harris is the company that first introduced the Hino truck from Japan to Ireland back in the 1960’s.
The company has beaten off stiff competition to win the LDV contract from SAIC, which, it says, will have invested $2.2 billion by 2020 in growing and developing the LDV brand globally. SAIC’s commitment to developing the brand in Ireland and Britain was evidenced by its chairman and deputy general flying in from China for the launch event.
The timing for the Harris Group could not be better with massive growth in the Irish light commercial vehicle market, with sales up more than 40 per cent in 2015.
New LDV V80 Van Range
The LDV V80 was engineered in Britain. It will be offered in three panel van sizes – a low-roof version with short wheel base (6.9 cubic metres capacity ); a medium roof version with a long wheel base (10.2 cubic metres capacity ); and a high-roof version with a long wheel base (11.4 metres capacity ). It has GVW (gross vehicle weight ) of 3.200kg or 3.500kg.
A chassis cab version will also be available, and these will be followed by a crew cab and minibus version.
Power for the V80 range comes from the established Italian built VM Motori Eco-D 2.5 16V turbo-diesel (136bhp and 330 Nm of torque ) engine transversely mounted on the frame front wheel drive. It features a Bosch electronically controlled common rail direct fuel injection system, which promises improved combustion efficiency. It comes with a six-speed transmission as standard.
LDV says that 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 is 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 says the 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 ).
LDV also claims that 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 200,000 km and includes five years roadside assistance cover as standard.
Also coming down the tracks for the brand is a new G10 MPV, which is expected to be launched late this year or in 2017, and it should additionally be available in a van version.