TVR is to go back on its word and stop making cars in the UK. A short press release this morning confirmed that the Blackpool-based sports car firm had decided to 'outsource all production'.There has been speculation that TVR would stop building cars in the UK since it was bought by Russian Nikolai Smolenski in 2004. The company shed between 70 and 150 staff in April, but it claimed the move was temporary and that it was still planning to move into new premises at a business park in Lancashire.
However, it has now stated that while fully-built powertrains will still be produced in the UK, the 2007 Tuscan, Tuscan Convertible and Sagaris will be made elsewhere in Europe. Smolenski said, "We are extremely sorry that, after a period of uncertainty and raised hopes that we could continue production ourselves in Blackpool, we have had to make this decision. We need to secure the future of the company and move it forward. I am afraid we see no other way to do so."
He added, "We are acutely aware of the shock and distress this will cause for our staff and their families. We will ensure that we meet all our responsibilities towards them over the coming months. We would also like to express our gratitude to all those who have worked with us over the past months to try to maintain the company in Blackpool. We shall be making further announcements in due course about our plans which we believe represent a major advance for the proud name of TVR."
Smolenski has repeatedly denied that TVR would be closing its UK operations. When he bought the company in 2004, he said that he wanted to double production by 2009, and make TVR "more British". Those plans are clearly now in ruins.
Earlier rumours had linked TVR with a new assembly line in South Africa, but it now seems set to stick to producing cars in Europe. However, given the desire to cut costs in the production process, it would be little surprise if the word 'Eastern' ultimately prefixes the word 'Europe' in TVR's plans.