Motor show news – 25 May 10:00

25 May 2004 #SMMT News

  • World debut of TVR Tuscan 2 opens show in fine style
  • Youngsters swap classroom for tarmac
  • Mitsubishi plans 50 per cent sales gain

World debut of TVR Tuscan 2 opens show in fine style

British specialist sports car manufacturer TVR unveiled a spectacular new model on press day today to ensure that The Sunday Times Motor Show Live opened in fine style.

The world debut of the Tuscan 2 was the first of more than 40 new cars that will be on display to the public when the doors open for Public Preview Day on Thursday 27 May.

TVR anticipate that sales will hit 500 a year for the £39,750 model, and that it will account for around 50 per cent of production at its Blackpool plant, which employs 450 people.

The TVR Tuscan Speed Six originally went in to production early in 2000 and since then TVR have built more than 2,500 of them. The changes to the car are significant, including the availability of three variants, the Targa, new Convertible and S; new evolved styling with aerodynamic package; and new suspension geometry which also features in all T350 and Tamoras.

Also scheduled to be unveiled today are the stunning new Aston Martin DB9 and DB9 Volante, the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti, and the world debut of the Porsche 911 Turbo S, which is available as both a coupe and a convertible. Noble are giving a world debut to the M14, M400 derivative and the M12 GTC variant, while certain to make a splash is the Gibbs Technologies ‘humdinga’, a four-wheel-drive utility vehicle that is the second in the company’s range of amphibious cars.

Show president Tod Evans says: ‘Manufacturers have really got behind the show this year. They recognise that the new interactive format will draw in the crowds and they have responded by putting together a great line-up of cars that will really capture the imagination of the British public.’

Youngsters swap classroom for Tarmac

Children as young as 14 are being given the chance to get behind the wheel of a car today at the BSM Driving School at The Sunday Times Motor Show Live.

Students from Crestwood School in Kingswinford are among those invited to preview the interactive feature. Their attendance is part of an ongoing BSM initiative to encourage responsible road use and safety.

The driving school will introduce teenagers between the ages of 14 and 17 to driving, using a three step process.

Firstly students are challenged by BSM’s unique mind alertness computer programme (MAP) and theory test. They then move on to the simulator which replicates the Vauxhall Corsa and will help them to learn how to engage the gears and use the pedals. Finally, it’s on to the outdoor circuit with one of BSM’s instructors to feel what it’s really like to drive a car.

Garry Sinir and Claire Maney from year 10 at Crestwood were skipping Maths and English in favour of the driving school, and both were looking forward to taking up the BSM challenge.

The BSM Driving School is one of four interactive features that are changing the face of this year’s motor show. It is accompanied by the 4×4 Experience, the Taster Test Drive and the Motropolis Live Action Arena.

Mitsubishi plans 50 cent sales gain

Mitsubishi’s British operation, which has been virtually immune from controversy surrounding the company’s £2.35 billion Japanese bail out, is planning to boost sales by 50 per cent within two years.

That was the bullish eve of show view from Jim Tyrrell, Mitsubishi Motors UK’s managing director, who said the brand must restore its ‘core product DNA, through more sports utility vehicles and cars with driving passion, like the Evo Vlll Lancer.’

Tyrrell, head of the independent UK importer since 2000 when the operation lost £10 million, said: ‘There is nothing to be concerned about for customers, our 146 dealers and UK staff.’

He predicted Mitsubishi vehicle sales would climb from this year’s 40,000 units to 60,000 in 2006, including a ‘couple of thousand MPVs’ as the brand’s new Grandis people carrier debuts at The Sunday Times Motor Show Live.

Tyrrell claimed only four customers had phoned to express concern about the parent firm’s financial problems.

He said: ‘We are a very healthy business and among the top four most profitable UK franchises in the UK. We have a raft of new products coming through and we are investing more and more on TV advertising.’

Tyrrell welcomed the ‘revitalisation programme’ which saw Mitsubishi’s keiritsu or affiliated companies launch a £2.35bn rescue package for Mitsubishi Motors Corporation, which is expected to register losses of £2bn for 2003.

It marks the end of a four-year bid to transform Mitsubishi into a profitable operation by DaimlerChrysler, which no longer has a veto over corporate decisions.

Mitsubishi Motors in Japan has been hit by a series of vehicle recall scandals and cover ups, for which its new chairman Yoichiro Okazaki apologised last week, describing the business revival plan as: ‘the last chance of survival.’

Tyrrell pointed out that: ‘Mitsubishi Corporation, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the group bank have a combined net worth which is six times that of DaimlerChrysler.’

He added: ‘The relationship with Chrysler will generate ten new vehicles over the next four years.

‘We need to do what we do best and that is build and sell larger vehicles with higher prices and profits. Up until the end of April Mitsubishi sold 8,272 cars, up 37 per cent on the same period last year.’

For more information on The Sunday Times Motor Show Live please href=”” target=”_blank”>click here.

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