And that is the UK car manufacturing business.
OK, names like TVR and Rover have gone to the wall and everything that was British owned previously is now in the hands of foreign ownership.
But it the foreign ownership that seems to be creating a boom in manufacturing. Nissan’s plant in Sunderland produces models for both home and export markets – even sending cars back to Japan.
Tata’s acquisition of Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford seems to have done wonders for the respective brands. They have ploughed millions into R&D for the two brands and the pipeline looks healthy. The production of the new Evoque is now 24/7 as they simply can’t keep up with demand. Add to this the new Range Rover which will be showcased at the Paris Motor Show and a new Jaguar is imminent.
What is even more pleasing – and I was not aware of this until now – is that Tata own the rights to the Rover, Daimler and Lanchester brand names. I thought that the Chinese firm SAIC owned the Rover name, but it was refused ownership by Ford and was giving the technical rights to the 75 and 25 models only. The only good thing that Ford did with the sale of the PAG group.
So with this, there is the hope that the Rover brand could be revived in the future, which would be very welcome to see the old name on a modern car again. And I would love to see Daimler’s back as the upmarket Jaguar – the Double Six always seemed to have more kudos than a XJ6…..
MG under SAIC has been looking to make in-roads as well – I don’t think that the Chinese get the brand however – sports cars are what are needed, not saloon cars…..
Whilst I am hopefully for old skool names to come back to the fold, I am realistic that this is a huge long shot. But I am pleased that the industry which had taken such a hammering is doing well – it bodes well for the future.