Russian owned, UK-based van maker LDV reportedly is shifting branding and marketing from the ‘LDV’ name to focus on the Maxus, its most recent model line.

UK retail motor trade website AM Online said the van manufacturer’s stand at a recent commercial vehicle show in Britain was “plastered with Maxus signage and the LDV letters were missing from all models on display”.

Chris Shenton, head of LDV for Thomas Hardie, which has seven LDV dealerships, told the website the change would lead to the gradual re-branding of signage and new models at LDV’s UK network of 75 retail dealers and 132 servicing and parts centres.

An LDV spokesman could not be reached immediately for comment.

Hardie reportedly said: “I think the focus on the Maxus is a positive move for the brand. It marks a new generation of models and the next step for the company.

He added that the Maxus name was well known throughout Europe: “It’s only in the UK and Holland that the LDV name is on the models.”

Shenton told AM Online: “The change in signage isn’t something that’s a major priority at the moment. It will be a gradual process and the change will be almost seamless.”

According to the website, industry observers believe replacing the LDV brand is an attempt to distance the present business from its chequered history – it was refinanced in 2003 and went into administration in 2005. It was subsequently rescued by private equity investors and sold to Russian group GAZ, its current owner (in 2006). All those changes caused a lot of uncertainty in the market.

“Now GAZ has got it into profit and is moving forward so it makes sense to quietly bury LDV as a retail brand in favour of Maxus,” Shenton told AM Online.

LDV Group’s newly-appointed chief executive, Evgeniy Vereshchagin, told the website the company had made solid progress since its acquisition by GAZ, including introducing 51 Maxus derivatives, expanding the UK network by a quarter and increasing UK Maxus registrations by 30%.

Vereshchagin reportedly said the Birmingham plant will export around 5,000 vehicles this year while sales in Asia are improving.