LDV is set to quadruple van production to 80,000 a year by 2005 if the Government approves a £40m grant for a joint venture with Daewoo of South Korea.
The project will create 2,000 jobs at LDV’s Birmingham plant.
LDV, formerly Leyland Daf Vans, was created by a management buyout after Daf of the Netherlands went into receivership in 1993. It plans to invest £180m in producing successors to its Pilot and Convoy ranges.
The investment will be made up of the £40m grant plus cash, borrowing, revenue generated over the development period, and the sale of a minority stake to Daewoo, which will put in its own extra investment.
It is believed that 75% of production from LDV’s UK plant would be exported. Daewoo is also expected to build the van at its Polish subsidiary.
A decision by the Department of Trade and Industry, on whose approval the venture depends, is expected within two weeks.
Sources close to the project were optimistic this week that the economic problems in south-east Asia would not threaten Daewoo’s involvement.