British sports car maker is about to build the first ‘pilots’ for its Griffith sports car
The Welsh Government has contributed £500,000 worth of investment to TVR, acquiring a 3% stake in the reborn car brand.
The government has also provided a £2 million loan to the company and has purchased the Ebbw Vale site where TVR’s cars will be made.
TVR boss Les Edgar told Autocar that the investment actually took place almost two years ago. He said: “The government invested [in TVR] on the 22 March 2016 – and last month, they announced that they’d acquired the Ebbw Vale factory where we will build the car.”
The reason it has come to light in 2018 is due to calls from the Welsh Conservative party, which is in opposition to the country’s leading Labour party, for assurance that the public money would be safeguarded.
“It’s an unusual thing for the Welsh Government to invest in a company like this – in fact, I don’t think it’s ever happened before – so I see it as a sign of their faith in TVR,” said Edgar.
The relaunched TVR brand revealed its first car, which will return the Griffith name to production, at the 2017 Goodwood Revival. Edgar said the brand is now working to produce the first pilot builds of its 500bhp V8-engined Porsche 911 rival, with production of customer cars scheduled to begin next year.
While progress at TVR continues to be made, the firm’s potential neighbour, the Circuit of Wales, has experienced less fluid development. The new track complex was planned to use 336 hectares of land just north of Ebbw Vale, but the project has suffered ongoing financial issues. Its biggest blow came in June 2017 when the Welsh Government refused to guarantee funding for the project.
Edgar told Autocar that while he was in support of the circuit’s construction, it had no effect on TVR’s progress. He said: “I actually knew nothing about the Circuit of Wales when the Welsh Government first got involved, so the changes there have had no impact.
“A potential resurrection of the plan would be good and very beneficial to the economy, but it’s not something that’s built into our plan.”