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    Weststar group, a Malaysia Malaysia’s vehicle importer had confirmed to import a British Van calles the LDV Maxus, read the full story from Bernama below



    KUALA LUMPUR, May 6 Weststar Group, Malaysia’s vehicle importer, has finalised a deal to buy LDV, the British van maker based in Birmingham which is controlled by GAZ and owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

    Weststar Group Managing Director Datuk Seri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, said in a statement from London to Bernama Wednesday, that a four-week bridging loan of 5 million is being provided by the British government to keep LDV afloat while Weststar completes the deal.

    LDV Group Ltd., formerly a part of the British Leyland, was incorporated in 1993 and is an integrated commercial van manufacturing company, located in Birmingham, England.

    Turnover for the year ended 31st December 2007 was 146.8 million (RM1.1 billion).

    LDV’s Maxus van was launched in 2005 and has since then received much praise and awards.

    Syed Azman said in conjunction with Microvett of Italy, LDV had developed a zero-emission all electric van, which had been trialed and well received by Sainsbury, a high-profile user.

    He said the vehicle is being readied for series production. LDV has been shortlisted for the Low Carbon Vehicle Public Procurement Programme, which if successful in the initial phase, will lead to supply to a wide range of public sector organisations.

    Weststar estimates that a substantial investment is required to fully exploit the abundant opportunities for European heavy vans worldwide.

    “This marketability is evidenced in Malaysia by its rapid acceptance as an ambulance and mini-bus only one year after its introduction,” he said.

    In Malaysia, LDV Maxus vans are manufactured at the Pekan facility of DRB Hicom.

    Syed Azman said the products were eligible for AFTA status, and were being progressively type certified in South East Asian countries and Saudi Arabia.

    Weststar has already begun exporting LDV vans to Brunei and Thailand, and intends to market this product aggressively internationally, he said.

    He disclosed that on May 4, GAZ Group of the Russian Federation offered Weststar Group the opportunity to purchase the entire shareholding in LDV Group and its associate company, Birmingham Pressings Ltd, which supplies metal parts for its products.

    “This investment opportunity was brought about by the economic turmoil in Russia, and brings into Malaysian hands ownership of an international brand, first rate products and access to European markets and technology at an affordable price,” Syed Azman said.

    For the future, Weststar intends to utilise the Birmingham facilities to its fullest extent, at the highest standards of labour and energy efficiency in the industry.

    He said serving UK and European markets, the plant and distribution network would offer products and ownership experience comparable to the best.

    The UK plant is entitled to tap on 2.5 billion financial incentives pledged by the British Government under its Automotive Assistance Programme, and European Investment Bank’s European Clean Transport Facilities which grants loans of a minimum of approximately €50 million to a maximum of €400 million for eligible low carbon projects.

    Meanwhile, to make LDV products more affordable in the developing world, Weststar would expand the scope of manufacture in Malaysia and other low cost manufacturing centres in regional trade blocs.

    “Birmingham shall remain the centre of engineering excellence where designs of new low carbon footprint products and OEM standard SVO conversions shall originate, and jointly put into production with the Malaysian plant. Successfully implemented, this strategy will see employment and value creation in the UK and Malaysia significantly increased,” Syed Azman said.

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