After MG, Rover, and the iconic London taxi maker Mangenese Bronze, one of the last remnants of the British auto industry was bought by a Chinese. By a Chinese woman, to be exact. Dr. Qu Li, owner of Eco Concept Ltd., agreed Thursday to buy for an undisclosed amount LDV, a Birmingham-based van-manufacturing company that went “into administration” in June. The lady has a history.
Li was a consultant for a group of businessmen, called “The Phoenix Four,” who bought auto maker MG Rover from BMW in 2000 for the symbolic price of £10. According to London’s Telegraph, Ms. Li was also the lover of one of them, Nick Stephenson. Over 15 months, MG Rover paid Dr. Li £1.7m, not a bad rate for consulting and consorting. Ms. Li secured investment from SAIC Motor Corp., which bought technology from MG Rover in 2005. Then, the company collapsed.
Van maker LDV was backed by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska until it likewise collapsed when the bottom fell out of the commercial vehicles market. Production at the LDV plant stopped 10 months ago. Eco Concept says LDV will still concentrate on light commercial vehicles but on a smaller scale. Eco Concept “has support from a number of international automotive manufacturers and distributors,” Dr. Li said. Gasgoo thinks that the number is one, and the company is none other than Li’s old pals in Shanghai, SAIC. According to Gasgoo, LDV “is likely to be relocated to Longbridge, currently home of SAIC-owned MG UK.” Gasgoo’s sources suggest that “main assembly will take place in China and only a limited presence will be kept in the West Midlands of UK.