The TVR Car Club has been informed this morning that staff at TVR's Blackpool factory have been informed today (Wednesday) that the company is planning to outsource all production.
Agreements are being finalised for the 2007 run of Tuscan, Tuscan Convertible and Sagaris to be produced in Europe while fully built powertrains - straight six, four-litre TVR engines including clutch and gearbox - are due to be produced in the UK.
We have also received an update from the Transport and General Workers' Union, representing the staff, the contents of which are reproduced below.
TVR owner Nikolai Smolenski said: "We are extremely sorry that, after a period of uncertainty and raised hopes that we could continue production ourselves in Blackpool, we have had to make this decision.
We need to secure the future of the company and move it forward. I am afraid we see no other way to do so.
Consultation has begun with staff and the Transport & General Workers Union on redundancy and counselling support is being put in place.
TVR plans to continue with all current arrangements for the supply of cars and parts. Discussions are being held with key suppliers about future relationships. Nikolai continued:
"We are acutely aware of the shock and distress this will cause for our staff and their families. We will ensure that we meet all our responsibilities towards them over the coming months.
We would also like to express our gratitude to all those who have worked with us over the past months to try to maintain the company in Blackpool.
We shall be making further announcements in due course about our plans which we believe represent a major advance for the proud name of TVR. But for the time being we are concentrating on our staff in Blackpool and the consultation process.
The following news brief has also been received by the TVRCC this afternoon from the Transport and General Workers Union:
The Transport and General Workers Union, the trade union representing the TVR workers, said the news was bitterly disappointing after hopes had been raised just a few weeks ago that production would stay in Blackpool.
"This is a bitter blow for Blackpool and an iconic British sports car," said Dave McCall, T&G; North West regional secretary in an initial reaction to the news. "It is particularly hard to take in after everyone's hopes had been raised just a few months ago when workers who had been laid off were taken back."
The T&G; has been involved with the company, local MPs, Blackpool Council and others in seeking to find ways to keep production in Blackpool. Hopes for the future had been raised when not just the laid off workers were re-hired but when an alternative production site in Blackpool appeared to have been found.
"The uncertainty and stress faced by the workforce has been tremendous," added Mr. McCall.
The Transport and General Workers Union said this afternoon that talks with TVR had continued throughout the day following the shock announcement that it was the company's intention to outsource production to another European country.
Speaking during a break in the talks Dave McCall, T&G; North West regional secretary, said it would be wrong to build up hopes but the T&G; and local authorities were determined to explore all possible alternatives to the company leaving Blackpool before fully accepting closure.
"We have involved the regional development agency as well as Blackpool Council in our deliberations today as we strive to save manufacturing jobs," he said. "There are alternatives including trying to find other sites as well as looking at bringing in other manufacturers. The T&G; is not going to let these skilled jobs go or this sports car, which has a long history in Blackpool, disappear from the north west without fully exhausting all the alternatives."
Talks are likely to continue into the evening. Our first thoughts go out to the staff and their families.
As soon as we have some more information, we will bring it here.