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Maxus out, LDV in

Name change: The Chinese-built V80 will carry the LDV badge when it arrives in Australia in late 2012.

Name switch for Chinese-made Maxus vans after brand-clash wrangle

3 Jul 2012

CHINESE vehicle importer WMC Group has dropped the Maxus brand name for its upcoming range of vans after objections from trucking equipment supplier MaxiTrans which had a prior claim on the name for a range of truck consumables in Australia.

Instead, the vans made by China’s biggest motor manufacturer, Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), will be sold under the original British tag, LDV (Leyland DAF Vans), when they arrive in Australia in October.

Sydney-based WMC tried to negotiate a royalties deal to use Maxus, which originally was the name of a model of van built by LDV in the UK before SAIC bought the bankrupt manufacturer and shifted its manufacturing operation to China in 2009.

However, when the parties could not agree on terms, WMC and SAIC decided to revert to the old LDV name which is owned by SAIC along with another British brand, MG.

WMC CEO Jason Pecotic that while it was disappointing the van range would not be marketed in Australia under its global name, he was confident that the LDV brand will be well received by Australians.

"The vans are manufactured by SAIC in China and sold around the world under the Maxus name,” he said.

“Whilst we didn't believe there would have been any confusion, we are excited to be using the LDV name with the new range in Australia.”

 center imageAccording to MaxiTrans’ website, Maxus truck trailer components such as axles, suspension kits, landing legs, king pins and road kits are sold through Colrain stores and Maxus agents, and also fitted as original equipment to trailers sold under MaxiTrans and other brandsThe LDV range will be launched in Australia with the British-designed V80 van in seven diesel-powered models priced from about $30,000.

The vans – in short- and long-wheelbase and high- and standard-roof variants - will be sold through a 25-dealer network across Australia, undercutting existing top-selling vans from the likes of Hyundai, Toyota and Volkswagen.

A four-model mini-bus version is likely to come in standard and deluxe trim with seating for between 11 and 15 passengers.

Later, the range will be expanded with a V80 cab-chassis model that is expected to start rolling off the Maxus production line in the Chinese city of Wuxi this month.

The LDV vans were originally designed, made and sold in the UK, with the V80 apparently originally destined to be shared with South Korean manufacturer Daewoo.

However, LDV and Daewoo both bit the dust in the global financial crisis, with the former falling into receivership before being snapped up by SAIC which added it to its portfolio of defunct British brands, including Rover – sold as Roewe in China – and MG.

The latter is expected to join LDV on the Australian market, with SAIC in the final throes of selecting an independent importer to handle the range that so far includes three passenger cars, the MG3 light hatch, MG5 small car and MG6 mid-sizer.

MG, Roewe and Maxus now form SAIC’s main domestic Chinese brands. However, most of its production volume is dedicated to joint ventures with China’s biggest ‘foreign’ companies, General Motors and Volkswagen.

Apart from LDV, WMC Group is already importing Chinese-made Higer buses and JAC light-duty trucks.

It also looked at importing Foton pick-ups, but dropped the deal when it could not get what it considered appropriate pricing for the Australian market.

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