In the press conference, attended by the major newspapers, media and our own Sprint Editor Derek Smith it was announced that they have purchased the company for an undisclosed sum. David Oxley will remain for a short hand over period.
Adam Burdette and Jean Michel Santacreu are now joint managing partners of TVR. Both men are American nationals who are neighbours in Florida. N Smolenski (NS) has no plans to be part of the management team although he said he would consider it if he was asked to join the new managers.
The format of the conference was a brief question and answer session regarding the recent history of TVR, then a presentation by NS on the new management, then a further Q & A session, this time quite extensive.
NS stated that as he did not want to become involved in a long, drawn-out legal process, he surrendered all rights to the TVR badge and then bought it back.
He criticised the MP for Blackpool, Mrs Hamble for lack of support for him and said that her voice was 'very small'. He also stated that he had no support from local government and that Britain does not support industry.
"In answer to the question, 'Will you honour the warranty?' he replied unequivocally, 'We intend to pick up the warranty.'
"He anticipated that Jensen would be taking over part of what remains of the factory but that 'Blackpool production does not work.' Although he accepted that the workers were not highly paid and the move to production abroad was not for cheaper labour.
Adam Burdette and Jean Michel Santacreu were then introduced by NS and he stated that there had been a management buy-out.
Their intent was:
To establish a new structure for TVR;
To produce 5000 cars world-wide;
2000 of these cars will be targeted at America, the majority of the remainder towards the EU and 'the east', including Japan;
It is expected that initially 250 cars will be available for Britain, although they will sell 'as many as the market demands';
Ricardo will produce the engine;
Bertone is the first option for final assembly of the car however Pinin Farina, Lotus (Simon Croft, Lotus production manager, was at the conference), and others were considered;
The target of 5000 was expected to be reached by 2009. There are anticipated to be 45 dealers in America, 35 in Europe and the east and 25 for Britain.
Initially the Sagaris and Tuscan (maybe with a new name) GTs will be produced within 60-90 days but towards the end of this year or early 2008 they will produce their world car which will have airbags with the possibility of traction control being considered.
NS stated that the car will move up-market. The price 'has to go up' but not by as much as 100%. He said that the market for a £30,000 V8 Griff had gone.
"The cars are to remain 'English' although we assume they meant British. Despite 2 months of bad press, there has been 60 years of success and 'people still want our cars.'
AB and JMS stated that there was still 6-9 months of development work on the new car(s?) still to do but that some of the work has been done already.
"In answer to a question, NS stated, "The brand needs to have its own engine." He went on to say that if they bought in an engine, they would be getting old technology. If they wanted something cutting edge then they needed their own.
The TVR Car Club