South Wales to house sports car production facilities

TVR and Aston Martin have announced plans to establish car production in South Wales, with new production processes and partnerships

British sports car maker TVR has announced that it will build a new factory in Ebbw Vale, South Wales. Costing some £30million, the new factory will be part-funded by the Welsh Government.

The capacity of the factory and number of employees have yet to be announced, and the precise location has not yet been identified, but its first product is known: an entirely new sports car whose chassis and body have been designed by legendary Formula 1 designer Gordon Murray. The design incorporates F1 ground-effect technology to increase downforce and grip, and will use a V8 engine tuned and optimised by Cosworth. It will be the first car to be built using Gordon Murray Design’s iStream production process, which constructs the car around a framework of large-diameter, thin-walled steel tubes that are formed, laser-cut and profiled under computer control and welded together.

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TVR announced the project last year and says it has secured over 350 deposits for the car, keeping the new factory fully occupied until the end of 2018. “South Wales is becoming a major hub for automotive and motorsport technology and development and the area is a serious opportunity for business development and job creation,” said TVR chairman Les Edgar. “We have a sports car project that has garnered global approval and excitement, and we are delighted that the Welsh government wish to become a part of an exciting new era for TVR.”

Aston Martin has also announced plans to build cars in South Wales. The company is to convert three former RAF hangars in St Athan, in the Vale of Glamorgan, into a factory with an area of some 90 acres, to build a recently announced 4X4 crossover vehicle targeted at the US and Chinese markets. The conversion will cost some £200million, with the first vehicles rolling out in 2020. Sports car construction will continue to be located at Aston’s Midlands base in Gaydon.

Aston is also going into partnership with another F1 engineering legend, Red Bull Racing’s Adrian Newey, who will work with Aston’s Chief Creative Officer, Marek Reichmann, to design a new hypercar, codenamed AM-RB 001. “The opportunity to collaborate with Adrian and Red Bull Advanced Technologies will be a fascinating experience for everyone involved. Unconstrained by F1 regulations, we have a unique chance to create a car in its most efficient form that will represent the ultimate fusion of art and technology,” said Reichmann. Newey added: “From the age of six I have had two goals in life – to be involved in the design of racing cars, and to be involved in the design of a super car. While the former ambition went on to form my career to date, the latter has always bubbled away, resulting in countless sketches and doodles over the years. The opportunity to now develop and realise those ideas while working with Marek and his colleagues from Aston Martin is tremendously exciting.”