Currently reading: New TVR range ready for 2015
Two-car range to relaunch TVR in 2015; the sports cars will cost between £50k and £80k
Steve Cropley Autocar
News
3 mins read
28 June 2013

The first model of an all-new, all-British TVR range could be on the market in two years’ time.

See the first pictures of TVR's new sports car

It will be part of an initial two-car range that will be “entirely in character” with the cars that TVR was making a decade ago under former owner Peter Wheeler. So says chairman 
Les Edgar, the Surrey-based Aston Martin racer and computer games millionaire who recently led an investor group to buy TVR’s name, design rights and assets. 

The company is run by a three-man executive board, with strong financial backing from a tight-knit group of car-minded investors. The firm has only just begun to consider its many options, according to Edgar, but it will probably start by launching a car of its own design, and support that soon after with a second model to straddle a price band of £50k to £80k in today’s money. 

Edgar cites “a secondhand Aston” as his new model’s closest rival, because it’s front-engined and British, rather than the more predictable Porsche Cayman and Boxster. 

TVR intends to “carry on where Wheeler left off”, building powerful front-engined, rear-drive models that sound great and go hard. The plan is to make them as simple and free of electronic gizmos as possible — these are not Jaguar F-type rivals — and concentrate on performance, driving factors and character. Although new TVRs will continue to be “supercars for the common man”, says Edgar, they will not be made in large numbers.  

“The project started with a few of us, all lovers of drivers’ cars, talking about building the modern expression of the traditional British sports car,” Edgar says. “Most of us have business backgrounds. We knew we really needed a decent brand to make the thing fly, but the brand we really wanted wasn’t available. 

“TVR’s owner, Nikolai Smolenski, had been approached by many other bidders and always said he wouldn’t sell. Then one of us became aware of a new opportunity to talk to him and we started negotiating. I can’t say he was a pushover to deal with, but he’s become a good supporter of our project.”

Edgar and his partners now own the assets of Blackpool Engineering, which was set up by Smolenski to contain the major assets of TVR — the name, design rights to all models, wiring diagrams, materials lists, correspondence, a collection of jigs and moulds and a large collection of spares for existing models. The new partners plan to sell parts and expertise to existing owners, possibly through one of the UK’s TVR service and spares companies. 

However, the partners make no bones about their intention to enforce their solus right to make cars under the TVR name. Several pretenders to the TVR rights around Europe have received uncompromising letters to that effect “from a team of international lawyers”.

Edgar acknowledges that TVR’s new managers face many challenging decisions: where to establish their new factory, how many cars to build, whether or not to build updated versions of much-loved models, and whether to use proprietary engines or (much more expensively) make its own. But Edgar insists that these will all be faced with care. 

“None of us has ever built a car,” he says, “but we have a fair bit of business know-how. We’re clear about the kind of car we want to build, and we think we can bring fresh thinking to the whole thing.” 

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There is no plan to export early cars. Volume will be low, and other marques have proved that the UK is the richest sports car market anyway. But Edgar insists that this is far from being a plaything for millionaires. 

"It is a well-thought-out business plan, and at the root is the requirement to make money. We will all have a lot to lose. But we also know it can’t be an overnight success. I’d say it would take a minimum of three years to break even. We’re playing the long game."

Edgar revealed more of his plans for the British brand in an interview with Steve Cropley.

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ChrisK 23 November 2013

JFDI

Good luck to them. I had a 4.2 Cerbera for 3 years, 25,000+ miles, never let me down. I only sold it when I retired from work. If they can retain the character if TVR they will win..
Jellinek 7 July 2013

Totally agree

".....but what he really needs is have a highly-skilled engineering, production and design team at his disposal."

Well said and came to the same conclusion myself. If he recuits his Aston Martin race mechanics for example, you might as well pack up and go home. You've got to have people who know how to design reliable, robust, innovative, high performance, stunning cars on a shoestring, not something made from unobtanium which is good for a few hours and requires a remorgaging of the factory.

MiddlemanJ 1 July 2013

TVR should think of exporting

Glad to hear that TVR is back in British hands. If they really want to get things back on track they really should have the whole production outfit be built in Britain and focus on quality.

However if TVR is to come back they really should think about exporting. The Chinese and Asian markets cannot be ignored because that is where the action (and money) is today. You'd be surprised at how many sports and supercar fans are out here in Asia. I've seen plenty of Lamborghini Gallardos and Lotus Exiges on the roads in recent days so there is money to be made from selling such cars.

As to consideration for production, as a Business Administrator/Strategic Advisor myself I believe they should consider building new or updated versions of their previous cars like the Griffith or Chimera, and with slightly larger numbers produced possibly into something like 5,000 or even 10,000 at least for each, and doubling this for export markets to make it a worthwhile and profitable venture. Selling a car with a familiar name is so much easier and better than having to think of a new one, especially for a company under new ownership.

There will no doubt be many challenges facing Edgar in reforming TVR. Apart from the retooling and employment of skilled workers and engineers (perhaps ex-TVR if possible) as well as dedicated product support teams & marketers, he will need to employ people who has extensive experience in the auto business. As its been out for so long and they have no car-building experience, they will need to get in touch with the right people who can advise them ie. ex TVR engineers. Existing suppliers can help them to make decisions on what parts to use, but what he really needs is have a highly-skilled engineering, production and design team at his disposal. This is the only proper way he can make sound financial decisions both for now and the near future (the two go hand-in-hand).

As to the location of the factory, that is debateable. Whilst Blackpool is probably a preferred location for now, they need to consider where the majority pool of their skilled workers are based and if possible where it is the most cost effective to build a truly modern (and updated) assembly plant.  If they are using an existing plant they will probably need to consider if it is possible to expand them at some point (this is crucial). Easy access to ports, suppliers, major highways and/or railroads is course preferred (for shipping & production).

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