More than 30 parties have expressed an interest in buying the remnants of TVR, the sports car maker which crashed into administration over Christmas - and the factory could move to Asia.
Administrator PKF (UK) LLP has spent the past month clarifying the assets of Blackpool Automotive Ltd, the company that ran the Blackpool factory, and it in fact holds several trump cards that could prevent the Russian owner switching production overseas. The sale advert in the Financial Times reveals that Blackpool Automotive controls the TVR trademark in Europe and the US, as well as all the intellectual property rights and tooling for the sports cars. It was thought that Nikolai Smolenski had hived off the IP and planned to stop building in Blackpool, contracting production to a specialist such as Bertone in Italy. Jason Gowar, of PKF administrators, said: 'It was under question before, but we have now confirmed that the assets of Blackpool Automotive include the Blackpool factory, the logos and trademarks. Nobody else can sell a car with a TVR badge in Europe or America.'
The FT advert confirms that the sale will include all the moulds and tooling for the Tuscan, Tamora, Sagaris and T350 sports cars, the 14,000sq m factory leasehold and all vehicle stock left over at the time the company called in the administrators on 28 December. PKF is hopeful of finding a buyer by the end of February; Lancashire millionaire and car enthusiast Al Melling, who recently announced his own TVR-rivalling 1175bhp Hellcat, is one name in the frame and Asian investors are also rumoured, but a spokesman refused to confirm the identity of any bidders.
TVR was established in 1947 by its eponymous founder, Trevor Wilkinson, and became famous for its raw and raucous sports cars undiluted by electronics and nannying safety gizmos. It was bought by young Russian tycoon Nikolai Smolenski in 2004; however, sales have slowed to a trickle in recent years.