Connaught Motor Company sets up global headquarters in Wales
Filed under: News
Connaught’s decision to establish its headquarters in Wales has been supported by the Welsh Assembly Government with regional selective assistance as well as SMARTCymru funding for research and development of advanced hybrid technology. The Assembly Government’s International Business Wales team played a pivotal role in attracting the company to Wales following initial discussions at the 2006 British Motor Show.
Connaught is one of the famous British marques dating back to the 1950s and had the distinction of winning the Syracuse Grand Prix in Sicily in 1955. The first time a British driver, Tony Brooks had won a Formula One GP in a British car.
The brand, which is still synonymous with innovative design and technology development, was revived in 2002 after a forty year gap by Tim Bishop and Tony Martindale.
Production of the Connaught Type-D commences in Wales in 2007, with the first customer vehicle due off the production line early 2008.
The Connaught Technical Centre, a purpose designed £3.5m, 60,000 sq ft production unit, incorporating R&D facilities, design workshops and office accommodation, will be built at Llanelli Gate for completion in 2009. In the meantime the company has leased temporary accommodation including interim manufacturing space in the area.
The limited edition 4 seater Connaught Type D GT Syracuse, with a Connaught designed V10 2-litre supercharged 300bhp engine, will be its first car built in Wales, to be followed by the hybrid version – the Connaught Type-D V10 sports coupe which combines high performance with excellent fuel economy.
It will be the world’s first truely high performance hybrid sports coupe and has been designed in house, is patent protected and delivers 30% reduction in CO2 emissions when compared to vehicles in its class. It will have a V10 petrol electric engine making the car capable of 42mpg, 0-60 in 6.2 seconds with a top speed of 150mph.
Connaught anticipate building 100 cars in the first year, 250 in the second year, rising to 1000 in year five, targeting the UK and European markets.
It anticipates recruiting thirty engineers in the first year and scaling up as production of their first vehicle rolls off the production line 07/08
Fred Page-Roberts, chairman of Connaught said the decision to establish their operation in Wales and manufacture in-house was taken in part because of the high level of support from the Assembly Government and its International Business Wales team.
“The Assembly Government is proactively looking to attract the next generation of manufacturing jobs and technology to Wales – it is looking ahead and pursuing tomorrow’s technology today.
“It is this extremely positive attitude, its global outlook and the strong political will that impressed us tremendously and made this such an attractive option for us.
“Wales also has the available skills sets for the sector, a highly developed supply chain and considerable academic expertise that provides a winning combination.”
Emeritus Professor Garel Rhys OBE, Centre for Automotive Research, Cardiff University Business School, described Connaught as a solidly based company with a diversity of automotive related projects in addition to car making.
“The high value added technology focus of the company is especially relevant to the 'green' demands being placed on the motor industry and is therefore placed squarely in a growth sector of the market.
“The demand for well made ultra specialist cars is growing and total UK production of such vehicles is approaching an all-time high of 25,000 a year. Given this and the growing demand for greener technological solutions Connaught's ambitions add up to a sustainable long term enterprise.”