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Corporate Business

September MG Relaunch in UK

A new car from a British motoring legend will be available to car loans customers later this year, it has been announced. According to consumer watchdog Which?, MG will relaunch itself under its new Chinese owner in September with a sporty new car that the company is calling the TF LE500. It is reported that the vehicle will be produced at the company’s Birmingham plant Longbridge and according to MG’s director of sales and marketing, Gary Hagen, will be reminiscent of the firm’s past glories. “The open top sports car is an iconic image of British motoring and forms the basis of the MG marque’s long pedigree,” he said, adding that the TF LE500 would be “at the heart of the brand as we take it forward”. Last month the Times reported that Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation, the group now […]

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Corporate Business

Another Manufacturer Sold

Yes, another famous name in the manufacture of British cars has been sold – although this time on a much smaller scale. Model railway maker Hornby is continuing its expansion in the hobby market by buying up toy-car firm Corgi. Hornby, which originally made its name with model railways, paid £7.5 million for the model car firm, which though originally a British brand was owned by a US company. “We are pulling together the hobby elements of the British toy industry,” Hornby chief executive Frank Martin told the Guardian. The firm also owns Scalextric, a brand that has been making a come back with Formula 1 and film tie-ins. It has also bought plastic model firm Airfix and Humbrol paints. Martin hopes to use the formula that has worked for Scalextric for the Corgi models, hoping that not only will […]

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New Cars

New British Supercar – Keating TKR

The 1,000bhp club has a new member – and it’s British! With 1,500bhp, the Keating TKR delivers even more power than the Bugatti Veyron supercar. The mid-engined two-seater is designed solely for track use. But don’t panic, as there is a roadgoing model, too. The latter is called the SKR, and looks the same as its more powerful stablemate. It’s available with a choice of four engines, offering outputs ranging from 404bhp to 656bhp. The fastest street-legal car does 0-60mph in 3.5 seconds and can hit 205mph. All models use the same General Motors-derived 6.0 and 7.0-litre V8s, and engineers have used superchargers and twin-turbos to boost power. The Keating’s sleek lines, tall rear spoiler and air vents look as if they are straight from the race track. And with a bespoke steel spaceframe chassis and fibreglass bodywork, it’s light, […]

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Corporate Business

AC Cars Returns Home

Legendary British sports car maker AC Cars is returning home to Britain to build its cars at Brooklands in Surrey. The company that built the iconic AC Cobra had been based in Malta but a legal dispute over the factory has prompted the return to Britain. Owner of the AC brand, Acedes Holdings LLC, struck the new deal with AC specialist Brooklands Motor Company, which has been based in Jack Brabham’s former workshops in Weybridge, Surrey, for the past two decades. The company will make the original AC Ace, the AC MK11, the AC MK11 FIA and the AC MK111 at the Brooklands facility. A new factory in Michigan is also planned where AC will build cars for the US market. It is expected that about ten cars a year costing £150,000 will come out of the Brooklands workshop and […]

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Corporate Business

Roewe 550 Unveiled

This is the car which will put MG back on the map – in Birmingham. It’s called the Roewe 550, but Auto Express can exclusively reveal that an MG-badged version is on its way, and is likely to be made at Longbridge. The 550 has been designed to appeal to British buyers – the lines were penned by a team of leading UK stylists working for Roewe’s owner Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC). The Chinese firm recently bought NAC MG, and is now looking to use the famous octagon logo to give it a slice of the lucrative European market, as SAIC has decided not to bring the Roewe badge here. A car based on the 550 will be the first MG to go on sale.

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Corporate Business

Geoff Polites, CEO of Land Rover and Jaguar, Dead at 60

DEARBORN, Mich., April 20, 2008 – Geoff Polites, chief executive officer of Jaguar Land Rover, has died peacefully in his home country of Australia. He was 60. Mr. Polites, who is credited with leading the team that returned the Jaguar Land Rover business back to profitability and successfully steering it through its ongoing sale process to Tata Motors, had been battling serious illness for the past two years. “Geoff’s untimely passing robs his family and friends of a man who was a real inspiration to us all,” said Alan Mulally, president and chief executive officer, Ford Motor Company. “His drive and determination, combined with his clear sense of vision for the business, played a huge role in turning round the business at Jaguar Land Rover and returning it to profitability. Geoff ensured that Jaguar Land Rover was not distracted and […]

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Corporate Business

More Doubts Over MG At Longbridge

The last car to be manufactured at Longbridge may have already rolled off the production line, industry insiders fear. They said the decision by main supplier Stadco to stop manufacturing body-shells for the MG TF sports car, as The Birmingham Post revealed on Saturday, could effectively sound the “death knell” for the Nanjing project. One influential source said he doubted whether Nanjing parent SAIC would ever produce cars from Longbridge.

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Corporate Business

MG Is Back … Sort Of

Ever since MG Rover went bust in 2005 and was bought by Nanjing Automotive, rumors have flown about when the automaker’s Longbridge factory would resume production of its iconic roadster and other models. Well after a long wait, to the delight of enthusiasts MGs are once again available in the UK…just not ones made by the Chinese parent company. A new endeavor launched by Englishman William Riley called MG Sports and Racing Europe has begun selling a supercharged coupe called the MG X-Power WR. Based on the old company’s most expensive model, the new sports car is built in Eardiston, UK, and priced between approximately $150,000 and $175,000, with seven models sold so far and 35 additional orders in the pipeline.

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New Cars

Jaguar XF

With the launch of the XF sedan and the deletion of the S-Type and X-Type from its U.S. lineup, Jaguar now offers cars in America powered only by V8 engines. The XF’s hard points come from the S-Type, which it replaces. But Jaguar is using the V8 engines, suspension, subframes, six-speed transmission, propeller shaft and differential from the upmarket XJ sedan and XK sports car. Despite all the parts scrounging, the XF has little in common with the rest of the Jaguar lineup or its predecessor. This could be the car that carries Jaguar into the modern age and out of the wood-and-leather ghetto.

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Corporate Business

Triumphing During Economic Slowdown

According to MotorTrend, the economic slowdown is actually going to be a benefit for the British car industry. Cardiff Business School car industry guru Professor Garel Rhys is predicting that the falling value of Sterling will make British built cars easier to export, despite the gloomy economic outlook. He said that some 76 per cent of UK car production was for export, and Sterling’s value fall would make these vehicles more profitable, helping to justify inward investment in the UK car industry, notably from emerging economies such as China. The latest UK vehicle investor is Indian industrial combine Tata, which has recently bought Land Rover and Jaguar from Ford. Other investors include the Russian backers of the LDV van making business. He added that the currency value shifts would cut the profitability of imported cars, which currently account for 86 […]

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Aston Martin

Aston Martin GT2

Aston Martin has revealed more shots of its new Vantage GT2. The latest Aston racer was first shown as sketches in January. It also was seen at a test at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France in March. The Vantage GT2 fills out Aston Martin’s GT lineup, giving it a competitor in each category. Three teams have signed up to drive the Vantage GT2: James Watt Automotive, Drayson-Barwell and Gigawave. The car will make its race debut in the first round of the Le Mans Series on April 5 at Barcelona, Spain. The Vantage GT2 can run on standard fuel or E85 ethanol. It’s based on the V8-powered Vantage road car. Source: AutoWeek

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Aston Martin

Aston Martin Review

A nice write up on the Aston Martin DBS over at Search Chicago Autos. Dan Jedlicka starts out by saying, “Some folks may consider the new $265,000 Aston Martin DBS too gorgeous to drive because it looks more like a million bucks. But the shapely, mechanically advanced DBS coupe is designed to be driven daily, even if it can hit 191 mph with its hand-assembled 510-horsepower V-12 engine, said John Walton, vice president and general manager of Aston Martin North America at a recent media preview of the DBS here.” Read more on the Seach Chicago Autos site.

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Corporate Business

Jaguar Sold

Car giant Ford has sold its luxury UK-based car brands Jaguar and Land Rover to Indian company Tata. Tata, India’s biggest vehicle maker, is paying $2.3bn for the British brands after months of negotiations over price and supply relationships. The irony of one time colonies buying and selling the automotive crown jewels Britain has not gone un-noticed. The negotiations started last June when Ford announced its intention to sell the companies as a package. Jaguar and Land Rover employ about 16,000 staff at UK plants in the West Midlands and Merseyside. Although Land Rover remains profitable, Ford has never managed to make money from its investment in Jaguar. Ford has been forced to sell the two companies in order to concentrate on its loss-making core US car business, which it hopes to turn around in the next two years. It […]

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Corporate Business

Cabinet Replacing Jaguars With Prius?

While I am as green as the next person, or maybe even more so, this just seems wrong on so many levels. The British cabinet is debating replacing their Jaguars with the hybrid Prius. As the Financial Times reports, “Gordon Brown’s cabinet clashed yesterday over whether to replace British-built ministerial cars with Japanese Toyota Prius hybrid vehicles, amid new evidence that the government is failing to live up to its green rhetoric. John Hutton, the business secretary, led the criticism of the plan to import more cars from Japan rather than use traditional British vehicles, saying it sent out a bad signal to domestic manufacturers.” Sad, very sad. You can read the full article at the Financial Times site.

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Corporate Business

Does Jaguar Face Extinction?

Ford is on the verge of selling Jaguar to Indian company Tata after failing to see a return on its investment after nearly 20 years. What caused the British luxury car maker’s decline? When the Ford Motor Company acquired Jaguar in 1989, the American giant was aiming for a slice of the lucrative European luxury-car business – with ambitions to snatch sales from the dominant Germans. Nearly 20 years later, however, Jaguar has yet to post a profit, its sales continue to shrink, and the British brand is about to be offloaded to giant Indian company Tata.

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Classic Cars

Specially Designed Lola Poster

Lola Cars has launched a specially designed 50th Anniversary poster at the Race Retro Show at Stoneleigh (14 to 16 March). The unique double sided A1 glossy poster depicts one Lola car from each of the fifty years, ranging from the first Lola sportcar built – the Mk1, through to the very latest LMP Coupe that will race for the first time in April of this year. The distinguished list of cars featured in the poster illustrates the true diversity of the company’s designs throughout the last From drawing boards to CAD stations, some of the UK’s most talented racecar designers have contributed to Lola’s 50 golden years in motorsport. Leading these talents from 1958 to 1997 was Eric Broadley, the founder of Lola Cars. During Broadley’s time at Lola his pupils included a long list of distinguished car designers […]

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New Cars

720bhp British Ford GT Supercar

The legendary Ford GT super car has been given a makeover and incredible power boost by a British company to form the Avro 720 Mirage limited edition. Brooklands based Avro Motor Cars has teamed up with Ford engine experts Roush to produce just 10 Avro 720 Mirage – with a top speed in excess of 220mph. To achieve this staggering performance Roush has taken out the standard supercharger and fitted the Avro 720 Mirage with a larger, polished version.

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Corporate Business

Jaguar Moving To Exclusivity

Jaguar intends to become a copycat by following Porsche’s sales strategy of selling fewer cars with higher profit margins. The British luxury-car brand has targeted the German sports car maker’s successful business formula after years of losses and underperforming sales under American owner Ford. Jaguar, along with sister company Land Rover, is on the verge of being sold to Indian company Tata, a transition that is unlikely to change plans to abandon the previous (Ford) strategy of chasing big volumes. At the launch of the car maker’s new XF model in Monaco, Jaguar’s design director and senior figurehead Ian Callum said the successor to the S-Type signalled a fresh approach for the brand. “Our aim now as a luxury brand is to aim for about 100,000 units a year, not 200,000 or 300,000,” he said. “That’s about the right size […]

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Corporate Business

Small Land Rover Coming

IT IS not a case of if, but when Land Rover will build its smallest off-roader. The LRX Concept was shown at the Melbourne Motor Show last month and Land Rover flew in its chief designer Julian Thomson for the presentation. He said the four-seater LRX “cross coupe” would go into production in three to four years and would look very similar to the show car. The LRX is smaller than a Freelander and features a rising waistline, no B pillar, a space-age interior with LED lights in the carpet which is made from recycled drink bottles, and it is powered by a hybrid electric/bio-diesel powerplant. “The exterior is close to what we will have in production – the mirrors will have to be bigger – but much of it will go into production,” Thomson said. “Car design is really […]

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Corporate Business

MG Rover Report Taking Too Long

MPs have demanded a government-backed inquiry into the collapse of MG Rover is forced to publish its findings. The independent investigation began in June 2005 but has so far not reported any of its conclusions. In January it was revealed it had cost £11.8m. The Birmingham car maker went bust in April 2005 with the loss of 6,000 jobs. The business and enterprise committee of MPs has called for the findings to be made public, but the government has refused to set inspectors a deadline. The government called in fraud and insolvency specialists to help the official inquiry into the failure of the firm, which was bought by Nanjing Automobile Corporation in July 2005. ‘Community destroyed’ Mid-Worcestershire Conservative MP Peter Luff, who chairs the business and enterprise committee, said the inquiry had taken long enough.