LDV began developing the Maxus in conjunction with Korean maker Daewoo, but the project faced uncertainty when the Asian firm collapsed and was taken over by General Motors. The Americans dec-ided they didn’t want the new van and handed sole control to LDV, which bought up the machinery to make it from the plant in Poland and set up shop in Britain.The Maxus represents five years and £500 million of development and is the most important launch in the firm’s 11-year history since the management buyout from Leyland-DAF. From launch, there will be two wheelbases, gross vehicle weights of between 2.8 tonnes and 3.5 tonnes and three roof heights. Minibus and chassis cab versions are planned for the following year but fleets wanting these models will still be able to buy them in the old Convoy format.
Load volumes range from seven cubic metres to 11.4 cubic metres and payloads go up to 1,616kg.The vans – all front-wheel drive – will be powered by Italian VM 2.5-litre common rail turbodiesel engines as seen in vehicles such as the Chrysler Voyager. There will be two power outputs – 95bhp and 120bhp – and a 140bhp version will follow later in the year. Standard equipment will include power steering, driver’s airbag, electric windows and mirrors, a CD player, driver and passenger seatbelt pretensioners, remote locking, engine immobiliser, height adjustable driver’s seat, tachometer and a pollen filter, while paid-for extras include ABS brakes, a passenger airbag, alarm, slamlocks in the rear, plywood flooring and trim, a fully adjustable driver’s seat with lumbar adjustment and full steel bulkhead. Warranty is either three years/100,000 miles or four years/60,000 miles and servicing intervals are 20,000 miles. Prices will range from £12,995 to £18,495 ex-VAT. Speaking at the launch of the Maxus range in Rotherham, LDV chief executive Allen Amey said: ‘This vehicle will compete head-on with the best in the industry for years to come. Our customers will benefit from unrivalled performance across every aspect of our business from product specifications to factory-fit option programmes, service and parts back-up, bespoke warranty programmes and an unrivalled dealer network. LDV now has a totally new range of LCVs developed to set a new benchmark in the industry.’ Sales and marketing executive director Tony Lewis added: ‘The LDV Maxus is a British manufacturing triumph – one that the whole team is proud of. Our aim now is to use our new range to reach professionals throughout the UK and Europe. ‘We are extremely proud to be part of this industry and want to now challenge the over-hyped stereotype of the UK van operator as either a cowboy or white van man and elevate how our industry is currently perceived. We are all dedicated professionals and we know that operators are highly professional in their own right. ‘We will carry our ‘proud professionals’ strategy through in everything we do, be it in manufacturing, customer service, our dealer network or our aftersales service. These are definitely not just empty words.’
Much time and effort has been put into the development of the Maxus. The new model was tested in temperatures from -23 degrees in the Arctic Circle to 45 degrees in western Australia and there have been more than one million kilometres of road testing, including two vehicles each exceeding 250,000 kilometres. Meanwhile, a total of 16 vehicles were crashed to prove its safety credentials.
Ease of repair after a crash has also come under the spotlight, leading to class-leading low insurance groups of 10 for the SWB model and 12 for the LWB.
Last year, LDV sold a total of 8,314 vans in Britain. This year, the aim is to sell about 10,000 new Maxus models.