LDV dealers across the UK have drummed up nearly £11 million worth of business in just over three months – amid growing anger from workers at the slow progress on investor plans.
The sales have been achieved despite a total production shutdown at Washwood Heath, which has not produced a single van since December 12.
And showroom turnover of new vehicles pre-ordered from the crisis-hit Birmingham factory have helped marginally increase LDV’s UK market share, it has been revealed.
The sales figures were disclosed as long-running negotiations with an overseas investor to save the factory – thought to be Indian group Mahindra and Mahindra – were said to have reached an “advanced stage.”
But workers contributing to the van maker’s official blog have expressed their anger at the continuing delays to the negotiations between investors, Russian owners GAZ and LDV management.
LDV PR and marketing director Guy Jones said: “Our UK dealers have sold 600 vehicles so far this year, which, for us, is a 1.5 per cent market share.
“In fact, we have increased that market share over the first two weeks of this month. This is for a mixture of vans, minibuses and chassis cabs. This proves that there is a market out there for our products, even though the overall market is 45 per cent down.”
With an average list price of £18,000, sales generated by LDV dealers in the UK represents around £10.8 million worth of business for the firm’s products during the Washwood Heath factory’s long battle for survival. More than 70 vehicles have been sold so far in April alone.
The UK sales momentum has continued despite a four month plus production standstill at Washwood Heath amid growing fears of potential closure, with the loss of 850 direct jobs and thousands more in the supply chain.
But an angry worker told the LDV blog: “It looks like it will be October before we start again if we start at all. People are losing their homes – you are forcing us to leave.”
And another worker said: “I think the company should exercise the duty of care to its employees policy and erect a tented village in Ward End Park with a soup kitchen because if this is to rumble on for that long we’ll all need it.”
A statement issued by LDV said investor negotiations had reached an “advanced stage,” with the first part of due diligence now complete.
Mr Jones said: “We feel that significant progress has been made. I think that there is light at the end of the tunnel – the investors are absolutely committed; they have spent a lot of time and effort to reach this stage.
“We are still working on used vehicle sales, and with all of our business partners, suppliers and creditors so that we can continue to work with them to help us though this period.”
LDV chief executive Evgeniy Vereshchagin said in a statement: “Investor negotiations have progressed to an advanced stage. We must clarify that these negotiations are to provide funding to continue to develop and build MAXUS at the factory in Birmingham, launching electric powertrains in addition to diesel from late 2009.”