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Chinese couple completes 20,000-km Shanghai-Birmingham drive
Monday September 8, 2014 5:22 PM, IANS

A Chinese couple has embarked on a sightseeing tour of Britain after having completed an epic 20,000 km journey from Shanghai.

Yaoguo Chen and Jie Wu decided to make the journey as a pilgrimage to the spiritual home in England of their Shanghai-built Maxus V80 van.

The couple, both aged 48, set off from Shanghai July 1 and arrived in Birmingham Aug 26, Xinhua reported.

It took the couple two years to plan their trip, which took them on a route through Mongolia, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, Holland and France and then to their destination, Britain's second biggest city of Birmingham.

"We quit our jobs to do this. I worked for an American company called Abbott and Yaoguo Chen was a press photographer for Shanghai Money Weekly,” Jie Wu said.

"Our friends and family think we are crazy but we are very happy to have done it."

The Chinese-built vehicle has a direct link with Birmingham, based on the Maxus model line which at one time was produced at the LDV company's production plant in England's West Midlands.

In 2008, after a troubled period for the Birmingham-based van-maker's Russian owner, the GAZ Group finally pulled the plug on the LDV.

The LDV name and the firm's intellectual property rights were acquired in 2010 by the SAIC Motor Corporation Ltd. Since then, SAIC's Maxus V80 van, based on LDV's Maxus and the G10 seven-seater MPV, has been built in Shanghai.

Jie Wu added: "Owning a Maxus is the big reason we wanted to come to Birmingham. The vehicle is from Birmingham, it was designed by LDV and it has come home."

Sadly for the couple, the former LDV site now lies derelict, bought as part of plans to build the proposed HS2 (High Speed 2) rail link between Birmingham and London.

But both said they were delighted to have made it to the city where the Maxus model started its life.

"We really wanted to come to Birmingham but are also keen to see other parts of England," added Jie Wu as the couple started their sight-seeing tour of Britain Sunday.

After SAIC acquired the LDV name, the first Maxus product, the V80 van, was unveiled at the Auto Shanghai motor show in April 2011.

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