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The Story of Leyland Vans and LDV

May 01, 2024
Like the Leen truck and bus company, the products of Leen's British van division were able to weather the storm of the financial turbulence of the wider Corporate Empire and Rose became one of the largest suppliers of domestic utility vehicles in both the UK as well as around the world. Although Lean's van division was able to find a niche for itself beyond the eventual breakup of British Leand in the 1980s, the L DV company that succeeded it would not see its longevity come to an end during 2009, despite of several promising deals with other car manufacturers in Since the formation of the British Motor Company or BMC in 1952, this widespread car-building monolith not only integrated a wide range of car brands for regular customers, but also a complicated network of van models under the Austin and Morris brands, with Austin promoted as the main one. brand Under the severely one-sided leadership of BMC chairman and former Austin leader Sir Leonard Lord, the Morris brand was forced to use lower-end, more drab machines that were stripped of any distinctive mechanical difference from its Austin equivalents, this was the case with Van's production. with the moris name being used as the main avant-garde brand for the BMC firm, although to keep the unreasonably influential network of dealers satisfied by selling Austin and Morris products in their showrooms, a badge engineering regime was adopted in which Austin and Morris Vans were essentially identical minus their names and some styling changes in August 1968, 3 months after the completion of the merger between BMC and the Leland group to form British Leland, the Morrison Austin van and light truck division was renamed simply BMC, a policy that would last until 1970, when the former Morris J series

vans

became Austin Morris products, while

vans

that had previously been sold under the Morris trademark before 1952 were consolidated into 1970 at the Bathgate plant in Scotland and were later renamed Len vans to be placed.
the story of leyland vans and ldv
In line with the heavy vehicle production division, the fundamental problem for British Leland's Austin Morris van sector was the age of its machines, as the Morris J series, including the j4 and ju, had foundations dating back to 1956 , while the company's LCV van market share was falling rapidly due to the influx of more modern equivalents in the form of the Ford Transit and Bedford CF, so amid the decline of British Len's place in The Wider van Market Stan Juwes, a former Ford designer and key figure behind the transit programme, was brought back by his previous employee in Longbridge to help develop a new van for the company.
the story of leyland vans and ldv

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His first concept, the Len CV300, used the engine from the Austin 1800 range to drive a front-wheel drive transmission which resulted in a magnificent low load floor similar to the famous Citrin. HZ, while the CV300 concept was promising, management implemented the plan due to commercial resistance which forced the Jews to develop what was essentially a Transit clone of the CV54 that retained the same practical bodywork but with improved styling for the 1970s, although due to the £8 million proposal. development cost, British Leland bosses scrapped the project. The Jews were therefore under enormous pressure to deliver a new van model as soon as possible mainly due to the constant demands of British Leland's management who were monitoring the company's market share in the van sector.
the story of leyland vans and ldv
The sector collapsed to just 7% and quotas were forced to raid existing j4 and ju van parts, as well as the usual family car ranges, to see which presses and running gear could be adapted to the new model. a simple combination of several pre-existing British Leland products incorporating the underframe of the side panels and roof from the ju j4 a moris marina 1.8L B-series petrol engine the c-s-series gearbox from the Austin 3 ler a mini marine heater unit exterior door handles and Austin 2200, while the instrument, i.e. the cell, came from the Morris Marina van, thus creating the CV 306.
the story of leyland vans and ldv
Development costs have now been reduced to just 1 million. Leland's British management approved the plan and the dus began working on a prototype while secretly adding more facets to the van to give it more of a competitive edge, much to the chagrin of the product planning and finance departments. In terms of marketing, it was clear that The Ford Transit was truly the dominant figure of the British van scene due to its incredible blend of practicality and performance, something the CV 306 would struggle to match on a level playing field whilst staying within its limited development budget of 1 million pounds, so the CV 306 would be aiming to undermine traffic by presenting greater value for money and at the same time taking advantage of its narrower profile to provide greater accessibility in narrow streets and courtyards, its perfectly cubic cross section is Much more efficient in terms of usable space compared to the Transit Curves model in terms of engineering, the CV 306 was to continue the trend for new car-type panel vans, unlike the front-drive configuration of the previous j4 and ju, as well as the Rival Ford temps 400e, all of these machines are going out of style due to the lack of front impact protection and the higher servicing costs of the CV 306.
Now called Sherper, it would place the engine in front of the driver based on the design of a conventional car, which would allow an extended wheelbase and the front seats could be pushed forward a few centimeters to increase cargo space while the spare tire was relocated and the cabin relocated. The doors were designed to slide out, giving the truck an additional 30 cubic feet of capacity over the J4 and a total capacity of 190 cubic feet. Because the truck is generally an evolution of the J4, the Sherper could travel from the drawing table to the production line. without major modifications to the design, while its extensive use of parts from other British Leland products meant that there was no need to renew the assembly facilities at Longbridge, ultimately Jew's insistence that the Sherper be fitted with a Channel chassis suitable for heavy-duty versions of the pickup truck. boosted the investment budget to 3 million in total, although this presented the British Leland with an exceptionally versatile platform that far surpassed the Ford Transit, which still relied on chassis-cabs manufactured using Top Hat presses over regular frame reinforcements.
The bet made by the Jews paid off once the Sherper entered sales during 1974 with its excellent combination of adaptability, practicality and responsive driving manners, resulting in the British Leland regaining 14% of the Kingdom's van market. Joined there under the demands of Vice President John Barber, the Sherper went into sales under the somewhat cumbersome title of New Leland. Austin Morris truck, this Monday was fortunately short-lived as after 6 months of general trading and customer confusion, the Sherpa name was reinstated. The initial success of British Leland's new van was underpinned by the fact that Ford's Southampton plant was unable to meet transit demand, leading to long delivery times for potential customers, while the Bedford CF Experiencing problems with its slant 4 engine very quickly, the Sherper had gained a reputation for ruggedness and Leland's British management often boasted of its incredible practicality, while its body design was highlighted by marketing. equipment to have a drag coefficient that surpassed some of the company's mass production family cars in 1978, the range was revised so that the O Series petrol engine replaced the rapidly aging B Series, although this latter power unit would be used in diesel form while under the Corporation. corporate reorganization of new chairman Sir Michael Edwards, the Leand Sherper fell under the Austin Morris division, where it would see the application of a Morris badge even though it was not marketed as one of its products in 1980, although the advantage that the sherper had was quickly replaced by the revamped 1977 Ford Transit, which stole 28% of the market and reduced the Leland van to just 8% of the total share, placing it behind its rivals Bedford and Dodge according to normal market convention. the British economy during this time of austerity.
In preparation for privatization, such collapsing business performance would be the death nail for the Sherper, but based on its potential to maintain its market position, management opted to keep the van alive amid another corporate reorganization in 1981. Operations British Leland's light commercial vehicles were reorganized and the Sherper van was placed in the Rover cargo division as part of the Land Rover Group, followed in 1982 by the application of the K2 facelift which gave the van a smart new nose with a Range Rover-style grille and slightly revised panels. While most significantly the facelift brought with it some structural modifications to the still J4-derived rear bodywork, these changes included a now vertical trailing edge on the cabin doors, resulting in a tidier appearance. and at the same time allowed the option of a sliding load compartment door capable of taking a standard width pallet, this new feature was heavily promoted by the marketing team and advertising agency Dorland demonstrated its accessibility through the use of an elephant African.
This turned out to be the turning point for R freight and, amidst its magnificent marketing campaign, sales began to increase. Picked up again for the van and with its profitability now promising, another facelift was applied including square headlights, new bumpers and repositioned indicators, while the range was now split into the 200 series, which retained the j4 riveted rear bodywork. original and a widebody 300. The launch of the Cargo Rover had therefore been a sales coup for The Wider British Leland in a way that was almost completely divorced from The Wider's performance of the car building arm. This fact did not go unnoticed by management but more specifically by the government that was now In 1986, the government reached a provisional agreement with General Motors to sell Land Rover along with the Leland trucks and Rover cargo divisions, although in the A Following the chaotic attempt to sell Westland helicopters to some countries in the United States earlier in the year, which provoked a huge public reaction, the deal was canceled on the day it was due to be signed, instead the government offered General Motors only the Len trucks and Freight Rover brands. but as the American automaker was only interested in Land Rover, the sale was canceled completely in 1987.
Freight Rover as part of Leen trucks was sold as a joint venture combined with the Dutch company daff trucks to create daff NV, which was formed through a complex ownership profile of 60% daf be BV and 40% Rover Group, while products would be sold under the leand daff name and production of the former Freight Rover would remain at Washwood Heath, the Selling Freight Rover to daff made business sense as daff, which specialized in creating heavy duty vehicles, did not have any products under 16 tonnes in the UK nor did it have any light commercial vehicles in its range on the market.
European; The subsequent merger created the largest range of commercial vehicles ranging from 1.5 to 38 tonnes immediately. Leand Daff invested significantly in the model range to remain competitive, with the Sherper 350 redesigned to include two new diesel power plant options, so the use of these French engines was pursued over the dubious reliability of the old ones. Land Rover units that sold Increase considerably with Leand Daff products that were very successful both nationally and in Europe, where they received the M badge as Daffs. In addition, Leand Daff opened new markets in Australia and New Zealand, while the high-roof versions of the 400 series dubbed the high-loader the largest truck.
On sale in the UK with an internal capacity of 3500kg, the High Loader found a dedicated customer in Royal Mail who often had these vans working 22 hours a day from certain depots, a testament to the reliability of personal motors at the time. Same time. Envy invested a large amount of capital in redeveloping the former Freight Rover factory in Washwood Heath, near Birmingham, as well as opening a newbespoke chassis department called SV War, specialist vehicle options that offered on-demand coach work for users, including transporting ice cream for the disabled. Crane dealers, crane operators, food refrigeration equipment and firefighters, and Daff products, thanks to their size and enormous versatility, found their way into the fleets of many different customers throughout Great Britain, in Europe, with the police, army, navy, ambulance crews, schools and even breakdown companies such as the AA being regular customers of Leand Daff special products, it was at this point also that the Washwood Heath design office , excited by the new investment from daff NV, turned its attention to the possible replacement of the original Sherpa-based model of the 1974, developing two possible models in the form of the F projects fr201 and f202 with body designs provided by Berton of Italy, although management was not impressed by the external styling, the project was pushed forward anyway in January 1988 with a tight delivery schedule in mind waiting for the van to become available. for market entry in 3 years, with the model design commissioned to MGA, progress moved rapidly and within weeks a pair of Clay models called the LDV 2011 and LDV 202 were developed.
The streamlined but simple design of these Vans generally It mimics the latest version of the Ford Transit and the vehicles were approved for production under the guidance of Daff design manager John Dev and the Washwood Heath engineering team; However, due to financial constraints within the Leland da company, enthusiasm for meeting a 1991 launch date gradually waned and French automobile constructor Renault was recruited as a partner to ease the budget pressures of the LDV 201 and 202 programme. Rena analysts quickly concluded that the only financially viable way to launch Vans would be as a single model that combined elements of the two proposals.
Unfortunately, Leen Daff's prosperity suffered during 1993, due to the drop in demand for light and heavy commercial vehicles caused by the global economic recession of 1992, along with a fierce battle for supremacy in Europe between truck construction giants Volvo and Scya. In a price war between the three companies, Daff emerged as the loser when its market was undercut by its Scandinavian rivals, causing its revenue to collapse. Da Envy was ordered into bankruptcy by the Dutch courts, although fortunately a clause in the merger agreement when it was drawn up in 1989 meant that Leen's side of the daff business was not included in the administrative process being carried out for the Dutch builder B, therefore, when daff Envy was dissolved in a bankruptcy auction, Len trucks and leand daff vans were weathering the storm of the recession with relative ease and were initially still selling well in the domestic market despite the fall in demand for vehicles in this particular sector.
Unfortunately, the high-profile collapse of daff EnV had repercussions throughout the truck building industry and confidence in Leand's ability to maintain its operations was shattered, as it turned out. When AP Products, a major component supplier, stopped its parts flow due to the uncertainty of Leeland's future, this news saw other component companies abandon the builder and productivity slowed as parts began to run out, in Amid frantic discussions between senior management and Banks, executive figures at The Leand Daff Firm successfully forged a takeover of the van business, which was subsequently renamed LDV Limited, while the heavy vehicle construction arm and The company's Leand Trucks company was spun off as a separate entity called Len Trucks, which still survives.
Today as a subsidiary of the American group Packar and is marketed under the brand Daff; However, although LDV had survived the onslaught of the DAF NV collapse, its market position was all but destroyed and the company would essentially have to start from scratch when it came to re-establishing the range of products that received slight improvements in mechanics to continue. remaining competitive, but generally unchanged from its predecessor Leland daff at the same time as the 1992 recession and subsequent bankruptcy from the death of NV me, the LDV 20101 and 202 scheme was acted entirely by Although Renault saw the merits of the project, it continued to develop these machines to replace its aging 1980 Master van, leading to the launch of the second generation Master in 1997, in addition, International Automotive Design or IAD, which had been developing the engineering for the 2011 DV and 202 offered the body engineering to the Russian company Gaz to create their own van model, which led to the launch of the Gazelle in 1994, which maintained the LDV body style, although the mechanics came largely from the vulgar Gaz family 31029.
The LDV saloon was soon able to regain much of the lost ground, but while old rivals like the Bedford fell victim to the recession, new ones appeared to steal large chunks of the market, including models like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and the Volkswagen LT, further aggravated by the ubiquitous Ford Transit and its superb second-generation model that had just received a facelift in 1994, at the same time that the box-on-wheels mentality of the 1980s had given way to a new minimum requirement for vans and trucks when it comes to style and comfort. Equipment: LDV products are comparatively basic, while Mercedes Volkswagen and Ford invested heavily in internal refinement options to improve the livability of their product ranges;
Furthermore, while LDV continues to maintain long-term sales contracts with public utilities and municipal sectors, these markets generated little. or in some cases without profits and, in light of stiff competition from most of Rival Vehicles' retail and small business sales, completely collapsed in response, LDV undertook a major update of the product range in 1997, replacing the LD v200 by the pilot and the 400. being replaced by the Convoy, although fundamentally these vehicles retain the same fundamentals as the original sherper of the late 1970s, even retaining the general profile of the rear bodywork of the Morris j4, while that ldv products, even dating back to the rover charging days, were not considered high quality. articles At the time of Convoy and Pilots' launch in 1997, the excuse that these machines were Simply Basic Transportation could no longer hold water in a market that demanded much more when it came to utility vehicles, reviewers noted the atrocious steep ride quality when driving, poor brakes and In addition, the pilot and convoy kept alive parts of British Layland products that had been out of the market for almost 20 years and were made up of components including rovera 800 indicator levers and interior door handles from the Morris Marina, which had stopped being sold in 1980, while other parts came from companies such as the Metro, the Maestro, the monteo, the Austin Maxi and even the Austin FX4 London Black Cab.
The only real saving grace for the LDV products was their simplicity and ease of operation. and maintenance, while heavy overhauls that would normally take days or weeks to complete on other van models could be carried out in a few hours thanks to the simple design, with most models illustrating a 15,000 M service interval. Due to This, the LDV Convoy and the pilot would retain 10.5% of the British van market share in 1998, one of the most popular users of these machines, apart from service operators such as Royal Mail, the police or ambulances. The teams were schools thanks largely to LDV providing in-house minibus conversions that did not require the employment of Bespoke Coach Builders, a pioneering business model in the UK for schools, a type of standard configuration that included a school design fully reflective, anti-lock brakes, external orange flashing lights, overhead storage shelves, heavy-duty ventilation, a reversing warning siren, child-sized, 3-point seat belts and fire suppression systems, this is exceptional combination of features that means LDV could gain 60% of the entire UK market for 17 AC minibuses.
In addition, the design had been adapted to this market through a customer survey carried out among 31,000 schools in Britain, while LDV also provided free professional driver training for even drivers upon purchasing the vehicle, a public relations coup. which soon cemented LDV as the king of primary schools during June 1998. LDV also began selling under license a rebadged version of the Nissan vanet which came in two variants, the vanet E, which shared the base model. body with the Nissen Serena minivan and cargo van which was longer and had a higher roofline from behind the front seats. LDV obtained a license to build the van under its own brand, called LDV Cub, with the intention of attracting small business owners. that needed vans with a payload of one ton for simple jobs and delivered the vehicle that was put on sale from July 1998 with a 60,000 Mi 3-year warranty similar to the 100,000 M 2-year package available for the Convoy and the pilot, but the LDV.
Cub was essentially an exercise in unnecessary duplication, as the 12,000 van was only £776 cheaper than the Nissan, which was still on sale in the UK and produced in much larger quantities in a dedicated factory in Spain, while Since the Cub also shared with the van its endemic defects of an extremely slow non-60 time in 28 seconds and dubious build quality at best, the Cub would remain in production until 2001, after which Nissan would replace the vanet with a rebadged version of the Renault traffic called nisson Prima star. which was produced with uced in luten and Barcelona LDV had trouble selling Cubs in significant quantities and chose not to continue the license construction agreement with the new model, unfortunately the failure of the Cubs was endemic to the general downward trend for LDV towards the mid-2000s as Although the LDV Convoy and pilot were still much loved by schools and the service sector, it was becoming almost painfully evident that the 30-year-old design had very few chances left of improvement and would reach a point where nothing more could be done without By discontinuing the models, the absolute obsolescence of the LDV product range was demonstrated by the fact that since its launch in 1974, the Sherper Freight Rover Pilot and Convoy series did not had undergone no significant redesign in either its mechanicals or its bodywork, with the exception of an engine change in the late 1980s, while the rival Ford Transit had undergone two complete facelifts in 1986 and 2000, LDV still aware That the Convoy and Pilot needed replacement continued to develop possible successor models, the most notable being a joint venture with South Korean automaker Dewu Motor to create what it was. du the ld00, a machine that was essentially an evolution of the LD v201 and 202 project of the early 1990s and would succeed not only the pilot and the Convoy but also deo's own Lublin van from 1993, albeit shortly after the 5-year, £500m development programme. had been signed the dewo group collapsed in a whirlwind of controversy during November 1999, the main cause being the slowdown in Asian markets during the 1997 economic recession combined with the revelation of widespread bribery within the company's executive ranks that It amounted to more than 400 dollars. million as such, Dewu Motor was acquired by General Motors in November 200000, although LDV was able to secure exclusive rights to the vehicle by purchasing the tooling and body presses before shipping all materials from Dew's plant in Lublin, Poland, to the Washwood Heath factory after further processing.
After four years of gradual development, what was called the LDV Maxis went on sale in 2004 and was immediately praised for its stylish exterior and modern driving characteristics compared to the archaic Convoy and Pilot, being awarded as the professional van and the van of the year 2005 by Light Truck magazine. Thus, the LTV pilot ended production after 31 years in 2005, although the arrival of the Maxus came too late to reverse the company's dwindling fortunes and in December of the same year LDV was placed into administration and bought by the group. Sung Capital Partners, a Florida-based company. Private equity firm that put Van Builder through financial restructuring with Sun Capitals analystsstating that the LDV group would need to produce at least 1,000 Vans per month to break even.
The company was sold on 31 July 206 to the Russian Gas Company with Former Ford of Europe executive Martin Leech and former Kerney executive Steve Young appointed to run the business and expand production at the Washwood Heath factory. At the time of its relaunch, the only vehicle on sale by LDV was the Maxis and the Convoy had not been restarted. Following the purchase of Gaz, the company's future planning was to create a new range of vans and expand the company's reach into new markets across Europe and the Middle East. Meanwhile, Gaz chose to support its own and sports utility vehicle interests by exporting the Max design for production at its Russian plant with an initial assembly volume of 50,000 units for what was called the Gaz maxus.
One of the new markets for the company is Australia, which had been a traditional sales location for the Cargo Rover and Leand Daff models during the 1980s and early 1990s, unfortunately before the Gaz Ford plan could be implemented. Indeed, the 2008 financial crisis saw long-term investment dry up and a catastrophic collapse in sales of Vanon cars, with production at the LDV factory suspended in December 2008. When the company once again ran out of money Faced with the bankruptcy of Britain's last high-volume van maker, Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labor government, rather than pumping money directly into the company, offered grants worth £5 million to enable Malaysia's Westar Corporation buy LDV, although Westar would ultimately fail to secure financing, instead LDV was placed into administration under Price Waterhouse Coopers, the same company that had overseen the breakup of MG Rover during 2005, and the intellectual property rights were sold. in October 2009 to the Chinese company Eco.
Concept which sold them to Siia Motor in August 2010, who also own the majority of the rights to MG Rover. This led to the restart of Maxus production at the SAIC plant in Wooi China during March 2011, with the van now simply named Maxus V80. and continues to be sold to this day alongside siac's mg division, bringing the two brands together for the first time since the sale of the Rover charter to daff in 1987 and representing two former British vehicle manufacturers now revived in the People's Republic as to The Wford Heath East plant languished until 2012, after which the entire site was cleared to make way for the two high-speed access lines to Birmingham's Ken Street station;
In the end, British Leland's Sherper and Freight Rover divisions look a lot like the truck and bus sector illustrated by far. The most profitable side of the automaker is that it was able to adapt its operations to a market through attractive design and at the same time combine it with an economical construction process to keep production costs to a minimum; However, once privatized and entering the 1990s, the British Leland's cost-cutting methods no longer had a place in a market that demanded much more from modern vehicles, even from the utility van sector, and Without sustained capital to ensure that new models could be developed, it was only a matter of time before the LDV group faced its final demise.

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