Russian to sell to two Floridians; TVR will be 'virtual car company'
28 February 2007

TVR's tortuous ownership saga continues. It emerged today, at a low-key press conference held at a hotel on London's Mayfair, that current company owner Nikolai Smolenski is planning to sell the sports car firm to two Florida-based business partners, Adam Burdette and Jean Michel Santacreu.

The Americans' first contact with TVR, made 18 months ago, was as potential importers of the cars to the USA. The pair, who live in Orlando, will rapidly take over control of TVR from the Russian-born 'baby oligarch', as the new faces of the management.

They envisage a 5000-cars-a-year future for Blackpool's best-known automotive brand, and claim they already have firm orders for 2000 cars from dealers in the USA. However, they also believe that, in future, only between 250 and 500 cars a year will be sold in the UK – and that none of those cars will be built here.

TVR is on course to become a 'virtual' car company, whose only tangibles will be the brand, its UK-based day-to-day management, and a 20-strong team of engineers and designers.

Under present plans, TVR will have a collection of partners to manufacture its bodies, chassis, primary components and castings. Shoreham-based Ricardo Engineering will develop and assemble the engines, and final assembly of cars will be at Bertone in Italy. Many of these links have been mooted in the past but have fallen dormant; the partners have the next few weeks to re-activate them.

TVR's new owners (Smolenski expects to take no part) believe they can be making cars within three months. The cars will be updated versions of the Sagaris and Tuscan, possibly with new names and new-shape bodies), but the tubular backbone chassis and slant-six engine (updated with Bosch electronics to Euro IV standard) will be based on the familiar models.

Prices will be held at present levels, according to the Smolenski-appointed managing director, David Oxley, who will be assisting the new owners 'for a period of time'.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • BMW's prototype fuel cell concept is based on the 5GT
    First Drive
    1 July 2015
    Fuel cell-powered 5 Series GT concept previews a revolutionary storage and refuelling system which could pave the way for hydrogen to become the alternative fuel of choice
  • First Drive
    1 July 2015
    There's another BMW 2 Series variant on the horizon; we drive a late-stage prototype plug-in hybrid Active Tourer
  • First Drive
    1 July 2015
    Wagon version of Skoda's cut-price limo is relaxing to drive, vast inside and great value, provided you avoid the range-topper
  • First Drive
    1 July 2015
    Hyundai's new crossover has great potential and a winning character that should have Nissan and Ford worried
  • Car review
    30 June 2015
    Expectations are high and the competition fierce. Can it deliver?