TWR deal saves Daewoo R&D site

The threat of closure for Daewoo’s UK technical centre in Worthing ended last week, with its sale to car design company Tom Walkinshaw Racing. Daewoo’s UK technical centre has had a rough ride over the past 18 months as the Korean car manufacturer stumbled from one financial crisis to another. The workforce of design engineers […]

The threat of closure for Daewoo’s UK technical centre in Worthing ended last week, with its sale to car design company Tom Walkinshaw Racing.

Daewoo’s UK technical centre has had a rough ride over the past 18 months as the Korean car manufacturer stumbled from one financial crisis to another.

The workforce of design engineers has been cut from 750 in the autumn of 1999 to just 150. Daewoo has gone into receivership with debts of billions of dollars.

James Mason, managing director of the technical centre, told The Engineer that no more job cuts were expected.

‘Daewoo’s restructuring plan meant that our R&D centre had to be sold off. As of last Thursday TWR acquired the business. We are now an independent consultancy, working for TWR and any automotive company that will provide us with projects,’ he said.

Daewoo purchased the technical centre from IAD, an automobile engineering firm, in 1994. The centre then developed Daewoo passenger car models such as the Matiz and Nubira. But the Worthing centre last year found itself on two occasions without enough cash to pay salaries. Daewoo’s R&D will return to Korea.

TWR refused to comment on how much it paid for the centre. It had been negotiating with Daewoo for several months prior to the sale. The company has divisions in the UK, Australia and Sweden.

Mason is confident about the future. He said: ‘We’ve had some natural wastage, and some redundancies. We had to do all that to keep the ship afloat. There won’t be any more job cuts. We plan to develop the site with TWR.’

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