North American Ariel Atom production has left the auspices of Brammo Motorsports and been taken up by Trak Motorsports Incorporated, which has been working feverishly to put together a sales and manufacturing operation while also working with Brammo to maintain momentum on orders and refits to Atoms currently underway or back for upgrades. TMI started with the Atom as Brammo's Canadian distribution partner, and the company also puts on the Ariel Atom Experience events that have given it a huge amount of practical experience with a fleet of race-flogged Atoms.
Brammo and TMI have held close business ties since before Ariel licensed Atom production to Brammo, and the two companies will maintain a relationship going forward. Brammo will be an official dealer of the forthcoming Atom 3, and they might also supply composite body parts to TMI. Brammo's sales territory and supplier relationship have yet to be fully determined, but don't look for Brammo to fold up its tent and leave the scene entirely. TMI's assumption of North American Atom manufacturing and support comes with a focused determination to produce the Atom 3 in a stable and secure manner from a new home base at Virginia International Raceway, as well as significant outreach efforts to fans and owners of the skeletal track weapon with a modest pricet ag offset by a voracious appetite for high dollar supercars. Thanks for the tip, nakul!
To All North American Ariel Atom Owners & Enthusiasts.
On behalf of the Trak Motorsports Inc. team, we'd first like to thank all of you for your recent support and patience. We've all been very pre-occupied working on a new North American Atom sales & manufacturing organization, as previously introduced by Simon in his well appreciated prior Clubroom posting. Many details & a few challenges had to be addressed in our 3-way discussions & negotiations on this business transition (TMI/Brammo/Ariel), before making a detailed, direct announcement here. Progress has been continuous and we're pleased to now be at a point where it's appropriate for us to confirm some of our exciting plans.
We have great faith in and full commitment to the future of the Ariel Atom in North America. We're excited to now have the opportunity to be moving forward with a highly commonized new Atom 3, between Ariel and TMI AutoTech, Inc., our new US company. Little did we know or anticipate when we originally became Brammo's Canadian distributor for the Atom, or even when starting up our Ariel Atom Experience (AAE) business less than a year ago (www.arielatomexperience.com), that we'd now be actively planning for Atom sales & manufacturing in North America. As many of you may know, we already know the Atom very well and we continue to like what we see. As the only operators of an Ariel Atom fleet in continuous commercial track use in North America, we've been extremely pleased with the overall performance & durability of our 8-car AAE Atom 2 fleet over a full season of events. Thus far we've accumulated approx. 5,000 hard track-day miles on each of our cars without significant issues. Although we did initially apply a simple exhaust system modification to our 245 HP Ecotec-powered AAE fleet, with proper attention to routine inspection & basic PM, our cars have proven to be tough & durable. This is a performance standard that we'll continue to build upon through our own new manufacturing & assembly operations.
We want to duly recognize and acknowledge the past efforts & commitments of the Brammo team, past & present, with respect to their initial launching and on-going development of the Ariel Atom market in North America. As some of you may be aware, TMI has held a minority ownership in Brammo since prior to the existence of their Ariel Atom manufacturing license. This enabled us to indirectly follow Brammo's Ariel Atom operations as they evolved, as well as our own visits there from time to time. We've recently also had the fortunate opportunity to spend some quality time with Simon & his team at Ariel works. We consider that, in addition to our own int'l experience in auto parts design engineering, quality assurance, manufacturing & sales, as well our professional motorsports background, our overall base of knowledge should help enable us to establish & operate a secure & stable Atom manufacturing, assembly & sales business. Our business will be solely focused on the Ariel Atom and the promotion of the Ariel brand in North America.
We'd like you to be aware that there's been a great deal of coordination & cooperation amongst Craig, Simon & myself to date. I'm confident that this 3-way cooperation & support will continue through to our own Job #1 Atom 3 production. But to be quite clear, TMI AutoTech Inc., has now assumed full responsibility and authority over all Atom 3 matters in North America. We'll also be assuming "factory" service support responsibility for Atom 2s. Atom 2 replacement parts and accessories may now be ordered through us. The sales website will be in transition for a period of time but our contact info will always remain clearly posted (www.arielatom.com). Please check the website regularly since we'll be providing regular important updates to our contact info as well as our progress towards Atom 3 production Job #1 on the website.
Our collective priority continues to be ensuring that nothing falls into any cracks in the matter of this complete Atom business transition from Brammo to TMI. The first order of business in this regard has been to attend to the various requirements of completing & delivering the remaining new Atom 2s + rebuilds currently on order with Brammo. This remains a primary Brammo business responsibility, supported in some areas by TMI. A critical parallel priority for TMI has been to be able to fully provide for all Atom 3 deposits made to Brammo to date. These important business matters have been discussed & resolved with appropriate transition mechanisms in place.
With regards to any direct, on-going business relationship between TMI & Brammo, it's currently anticipated that Brammo would be recognized as an Atom 3 dealer within a defined territory - tbd. Brammo may also supply composite body parts to TMI - tbd.
As has already been reported, TMI AutoTech, Inc., will soon begin setting up shop within a well-suited, dedicated 10,000 sq.ft. facility within the Raceplex at VIRginia International Raceway (VIR). TMI's Virginia facility will be solely used for the purposes of Atom manufacturing, sales & factory service. Some of Brammo's Atom manufacturing equipment will be moved to our new facility, as deemed applicable to our manufacturing & assembly plans. TMI (Canada) will continue to own & operate the AAE events throughout North America. We now see significant opportunities & benefits for much closer integration of the AAE to our North American Atom sales efforts going forward. Our new home at VIR will also become the headquarters for our AAE operations. in due course.
The VIR location that we've selected will provide us with attractive opportunities for local & regional support capabilities & business relationships, not to mention direct access to a great motorsports complex, complete with its own many great attributes and facilities. As just one unique example, VIR, in conjunction with VIPER (Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering & Research), now has a complete chassis roll dynamometer facility located within its main paddock area. The folks at VIR, Halifax County and the Commonwealth of Virginia have already made us feel very welcome and we look forward to integrating ourselves and our new business into this new home location. They're all very enthusiastic about having North American Ariel Atom manufacturing & sales headquartered at VIR and within the Southside Virginia area. Do we already hear the sounds of an '09 AtomFest™ at VIR?!
The core, hands-on senior management & operations team at TMI AutoTech consists of: Brent Gates, Vice President - Manufacturing & General Manager; Mark Swain, Vice President & Director, Sales & Marketing; and myself (Dave Goadby), President & CEO. Each of us have direct ownership interests in the new company; a fundamental principle of our business culture. Brent, Mark & I have worked closely together on various projects over a number of prior years, with the AAE being the most recent.
Our manufacturing planning is still underway but we expect to be building our first Atom 3 test & demo car in June, with the first Atom 3 customer deliveries beginning in the late June/early July time frame. All Atom 3 chassis for North America will be built on-site in Virginia by TMI AutoTech employing Brammo chassis forming & fabrication equipment. All other components will either be manufactured by us or supplied to us, as proves to be most efficient & cost effective to us in respect of a high quality finished product. Quality, cost & overall lead time control will be our manufacturing priorities. We're also committed to continuously providing personalized customer care, in keeping with a positive & engaging "Ariel Atom experience" for our customers. But please have continuing patience with us as we work to fully transition all of these responsibilities & capabilities into TMI during the course of the next few months.
Adaptation of the new Honda Civic Type R powertrain as the exclusive Atom 3 powertrain (normally aspirated & super-charged versions), now provides us with a unique new opportunity to work closely with Simon, Tom & the Ariel UK team to increase and maximize commonization between the UK and North American built Atom 3s. We believe this new commonization effort to be in everyone's best interests, in addition to our own desire & commitment to continuously work hand-in-hand with Simon and his team on all Atom component and build specifications. In this regard, Jacob Ensign has already been contracted by TMI to coordinate the integration of Ariel Ltd's Atom 3 chassis design into the comprehensive SolidWorks CAD files that we're now assuming from Brammo. Jacob previously returned from a week in the UK at Ariel Ltd. These digital CAD file revisions will support tooling changes + CNC tool path data, as required. It's not anticipated that major initial changes will be required at our end in excess of Ariel UK's own Atom 2 to Atom 3 changes.
In summary, we're making good, steady progress with the many planning & transition details involved. The physical set up of our new facility will commence in March and we expect to be fully "open for business" in Virginia by July. At that time we'll welcome customer visits by advanced arrangement. In the meantime we'll be handling all of your contacts & inquiries by phone, email or telefax, as best applies. We're confident in our abilities to meet our own objectives, but we're also not underestimating the efforts that are going to be required to get there. We're fully anticipating a few bumps in the road along the way. It'll be part of our business philosophy to typically under promise but continuously strive to over deliver. We may not always achieve that objective, but it won't be for any lack of effort on our part.
This may not address all of your potential questions but we hope it goes a long way towards doing so, or at least avoiding the need for too much speculation.
You may soon be seeing various public media releases & announcements in this regard. BTW, we hope you've all been able to view a March copy of Popular Mechanics by now! You may have also caught the Atom getting another great little honorable mention on Jay Leno's show on Feb. 19th, at the end of his interview of Hayden Christensen. He was urging him to buy one!
Now we'll be concentrating all our communications efforts on the all-important one-on-one relationships with our Atom customers. We look forward to getting to know as many of you as possible in the coming months.
Thanks & best regards,
TMI AutoTech, Inc.