It seems that the never-ending story of TVR has been given a new chapter. Russian Nikolai Smolenski, just days after selling the company, has bought it back for an additional £2 million. This time he has additional backing from two Americans. CAR Magazine interviewed all three of them to get the whole story in their own words.
Smolenski, apparently, will be a part-time partner. Jean Michel Santacrue and Adam Burdette from Florida will eventually take over the operation, with Smolenski backing away after he recovers some of the £15 million he has dumped into the company so far. The Americans, meanwhile, plan to reintroduce and grow the marque. They say the plan is to sell 5,000 cars a year. They even say they already have 2,000 pre-orders from American buyers. A U.S. dealer network is also said to be in the works. Of the 5,000 units annually, 2,000 will go to the U.S., 2,000 to Asia, and 1,000 to Europe. Cars are expected to reach dealers as early as the end of this year or possibly the beginning of 2008.
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[Source: Car Magazine]
U.S. sales will depend on TVR getting type approval, as the cars were never certified for American sale. If that goes through, actual production is still a roadblock. The company will most likely take manufacturing from Blackpool to Italy, where it is hoped either Bertone or Pininfarina will build the cars using many British components. Even British engineers and designers are being employed to develop two new models based on the Sagaris and Tuscan. It is, after all, the car's Britishness that makes it appealing to international buyers, according to its new owners.
The final question mark in all of this is whether TVR as a brand has sustained too much damage from two years of uncertainty. Santacrue, naturally, says TVR is definitely worth saving, 'The brand has been around for 60 years, I don't think two months of bad press will destroy TVR. The brand is still very strong.' We suppose that will depend on how many of the unanswered questions get answered, and when. We also predict that a lot rests in the hands of the designers. If the cars are as good as we hope they will be, then the sales will come.
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