Thank you to everybody who filled in the questionnaire – we had a fantastic response, and (perhaps unsurprisingly) some very polarised views! We are collating the information gathered and propose to circulate a refined version to give you an idea as to what we are prioritising in terms of options etc. We are waiting for the finalised exterior colour options to come through, so you can get a first look at the car in the various potential ‘standard’ colours, plus lots more that might excite you into being a little different.
We have noticed that some people did not receive the questionnaire, and this may be as a result of the delivery medium – SurveyMonkey – causing your spam filter to go into meltdown. If you haven’t received it and it’s not in your spam folder, please contact us using ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’ so we can resend or arrange an alternative delivery method, which you’ll receive week commencing January 7th - everyone's feedback is important to us. [click HERE to request]
The press has been particularly active over the last few weeks with all sorts of speculation – The Telegraph Business section gave us some shattering stories: “George Soros places £20m bet against Aston Martin”; “Goldman offers staff sex-change”; and Evans Cycle Stores were closing. Closer to home though, they ran a story “TVR’s stalled progress is blamed on EU red tape”. Now, the article is broadly factual, but not entirely, and not news - I have been talking about this delay caused by the tendering process for the last few months and mentioned it in depositor updates – as recently as that which went out with the Survey – prior to the article in question.
The article goes on to mention that we are “raising money from new and existing investors for a redesign to make the car fit US standards”. True, we are raising money with Federal (and global) cars in mind, but not a redesign of the Griffith for UK/Europe. We, like everyone, have no clear idea yet what the precise implications of Brexit – hard, soft, crumbly, flaky or just a bit plain chewy(!) will be, and we took the view that we should accelerate our business plan to be selling cars in other territories sooner than we had initially planned. The expenditure on further development was already in our original business plan, but to bring the development forward we can’t fund it from cashflow generated by sales so are raising the finance externally – more on which in another update soon, together with the ‘BIG NEWS’ which is not only still coming, but getting even bigger (hence the reason it’s still coming!).
Additionally, we plan to allocate additional funds to accelerate start of production in Wales, in order to recover some of the time lost due to the above delays. We hope to be able to make a formal announcement that works are under way on or shortly after 15th January. More the moment we have it...
Good ‘ol Autocar picked up the story the following week and did a nice piece on the history of the Gilbern marque, built in Wales during the 60’s and 70’s with a few references to TVR’s rebirth and the factory in EBBW Vale. I was (correctly) quoted as saying “Under EU rules, the Welsh Government has had to follow a 7-month tender process for the work to bring the building up to standard. At last, that period has run, and in January next year, the contract will be given to the winning company. From then it’s going to take six months to get the building ready for us...”
However, Autocar followed this up with a completely inaccurate statement along the lines of ….the tendering process means that work on the factory is unlikely to commence for many months to come..! It made me bl**dy cross, I can tell you!
So, if you’re reading, Autocar(!), the accurate latest is this:
Tender process complete – YES.
Shortlist of successful candidates asked to provide further detail & any questions – TICK.
Deadline for the above passed – YEP.
All proposals in front of the Government for decision on chosen contractor – WE ARE TOLD YES.
Nominated contractor appointed – DUE EARLY JANUARY.
Work to commence – JANUARY.
Work to complete (Building Refurb) – SUMMER.
One thing that we really value on this journey, as well as the pleasure and pride in repatriating and resurrecting our iconic Great British marque, and delivering a car as frankly fantastic as the new Griffith, is the support and friendship of the TVR community, of which you as depositors are of course in essence the core. We really value your support and engagement, and we hear regularly from lots of you in really heart-warming terms. One of the emails I received recently really sums this up nicely (reproduced here with the permission of the author):
I thought I’d drop you a note to thank you and all the team at TVR for all you are doing to bring the brand back. I can only imagine the challenge you and the team face resurrecting the TVR brand and building a new car in a difficult political and financial climate. If this isn’t enough of a challenge, doing all of this in the unforgiving glare of the automotive press and the elements of the TVR community who are not so forward looking.
I thought you’d appreciate some balance and you should know there are more of us who are far less vocal on the forums but who are delighted with what’s being worked on and are happy to support the project while the foundation challenges are dealt with.”
…Martin goes on to say that he has a deposit on both an early and a late car…
“..as I quite like the idea of a matching pair of what I know is going to be an iconic car that relaunches the TVR brand.
I hope the above helps you and the team understand how important we all feel what’s being done is and how appreciative we all are of the hard work and commitment being brought to the project.
I trust the TVR team will have a well-deserved Christmas break and look forward to hearing news of further developments in the New Year.
Although we are all 100% truly committed to TVR ourselves, it’s always nice to have re-affirmation from those that genuinely want us to succeed and are prepared to support us through thick and thin – thanks Martin, and to all of you who have written, emailed and called in with their good wishes!
As I mentioned above, we are working on the car configurator which promises to be a different take on this normally relatively ‘samey’ and dare one say mundane process. The first step is to give you exterior colour renderings of the car in not only the popular choices (as defined in the survey), but also some potential optional colours and some very different ones. We aim to have this to you by the end of January (as ever don’t shoot us – or anyone for that matter! – if it’s a week or two later), along with some of the key results of the survey.
‘Nice to meet you’
In this update, I would like to make an introduction or two and take a moment to express my thanks to those who have supported us over the phenomenal process of bringing TVR back. It goes without saying that you, the depositors, are top of this list, but there are a number of unsung heroes that spring immediately to my mind – our silent shareholders (well, some are silent!), sitting quietly in the background, pumping their hard-earned in when needed and providing counsel to help us steer through the quagmire of business life in the very challenging automotive sector. In particular, I would like to say thanks to:
John Chasey: Our Operations Director (effectively MD) and tireless servant of the cause – has probably done more miles on the M4 over the last few years than he’d care to mention - many of them in his beloved Cerb! A successful background in multiple start-ups over the years, with an emphasis on software and telecoms. Races a Caterham and has a series 3 Elan which he’s nut and bolt rebuilding himself when time (doesn’t!) allow.
Matthew Truelove: A stalwart, 3500+ laps of the ‘Ring, racing since the late 1980s and campaigns a 1960’s Griffith amongst others. Dailies a T350 with a Dom 4.3. Circa 25 other cars from the sublime to the ridiculous (1065bhp Mk 1 Sierra anyone?!) Fond of a good motorcycle too. Matt was one of the main instigators of the TVR rebirth, and will not accept anything less than global success as an option. You’ve already seen Matt (well, his hands, actually) at the wheel in some of our recent video clips (Silverstone, Castle Combe, Beaulieu etc.). Runs a successful firm of legal eagles in his spare time.
Martin ‘the Ball’ Overington: What can I say - another inveterate car nut and collector – in fact he makes the rest of us look tame! Everything from blower Bentleys, F1, Group C, and a collection of classics generally to die for. Martin also owns the Hotel de France near Le Mans – famous as the stop-off point for the drivers between stints at the 24 hour race, in days of old. If you visit, be sure to note the pair of ‘60s TVRs in the bar’s bespoke wallpaper collage! He can occasionally be seen towing his 962 behind the Bentley – exhausts glowing red, hair blowing in the wind, shouting at the Gendarmes. Which gets a firm 10/10 from me on all fronts! For light relief, Martin runs a successful construction company. While writing, we're also delighted to say that Martin has just been appointed to the Board at TVR, and we’re delighted to welcome him on board.
The Welsh Ministers: Famous for Daffodils, Dragons, Rugby and..Leeks! Obviously too many names to individually mention here, but a special thanks to everyone for your continued support and (whisper it!) helping us circumvent as much in the way of circumnavigable bureaucracy as possible - iechyd da boyos!
We'll be introducing some others in our wider investor group over the next few updates, and as ever we all enjoy meeting many of you at the various shows and events, and needless to say can't wait to welcome you all to our new factory when the day comes.
Anyhow, that’s probably enough for now and all that remains for me is to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and best wishes for a successful New Year – looking forward to updating you further on progress in January!
All the best
TVR Manufacturing Ltd