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Motor - 2000






















SP Engineering has been bought out of receivership by Caterpillar in a £10m deal, saving 400 jobs in Leicestershire, Lancashire and Nottingham.

Leicester City Council has approved plans from WE Sturgess for the development of a £3m Jaguar car dealership on Narborough Road.

Pirelli, the Italian tyre company, is planning to relocate its treasury operations to London, which is expected to lead to a listing on the Stock Exchange.

Perry Group has sold its Perry Contract Hire vehicle rental business to First National Vehicle Contracts for £1.3m, and the proceeds will be used to expand its nationwide accident repair business.

Accidentcare is to set up a new car breakdown service next year in partnership with Europ Assistance, and is also looking to move into non-motor care products.

Dixon Motors has acquired Motorsport Dealers International, the operator of the Motorcycle City chain of retail outlets, for £8m.

Montupet is creating a further 40 jobs at its alloy wheels and cylinder heads factory in Dunmurry, due to rising demand for a low-emissions diesel engine.

Ford is planning to form a joint venture with the Defence Evaluation & Research Agency to develop hologram technology for vehicle design and medical imaging.

Minorplanet Systems is to raise £30m in a share issue in order to finance the expansion of its vehicle tracking business into the US.

Vauxhall is to relocate up to 500 workers from car assembly plants in Bedfordshire and Merseyside to its new van joint venture with Renault in Luton.

Triumph is to set up a motorcycle distribution network in Japan, including about 40 dealers.

Howard Basford has announced plans to set up a new headquarters for its national vehicle recovery service at the Cheshire Oaks Business Park in Ellesmere Port, with the creation of 60 jobs.

RRG Group, the Manchester-based Toyota and Lexus car dealership, has been acquired by Marubeni Corporation of Japan for more than £15m.

Ford is considering plans to invest up to £200m at its Bridgend plant to produce petrol engines for Jaguar cars, which would involve the transfer of work from Cleveland, Ohio.

BMW is to seek planning permission for a £60m Rolls-Royce cars factory at Goodwood in West Sussex, which will build 1,000 units a year and create 350 jobs.

Lex Service has sold the Lex Autosales network of used car sales centres to Mercedes-Benz for £18m, which will involve the transfer of seven sites and 176 staff.

Motorbikes4U is to raise £1.6m in a flotation on Aim in order to fund the expansion of its online motorcycling business.

Visteon, the automotive design services company, has announced plans to set up a new regional headquarters at the Pipps Hill Industrial Estate in Basildon, employing up to 400 workers.

Laird has sold its LAC non-sealing automotive components business to Trelleborg of Sweden for £102m.

Nidd Vale Group is to develop a £2m site in Harrogate to house its head office and Vauxhall dealership.

CCM Motorcycles has secured £2m of venture capital investment for the development of new motorcycles and to expand its distribution network into overseas markets.

Pocklington Coachworks is creating about 15 new jobs in North Yorkshire having won a £2.5m order to manufacture support vehicles for Toyota Motor Sport.

Pilkington has dropped plans to double its share of the US automotive glass market following the collapse of takeover talks with Visteon.

Stadco has confirmed plans to set up a £3m factory at the Boulevard Industry Park in Speke to supply metal pressings to Jaguar, with the creation of 50 jobs.

Hawtal Whiting, the automotive design consultancy, has gone into receivership, but the engineering and US operations are being bought by Wagon for £8m.

EasyRentaCar is planning to set up 30 rental sites across Europe by the end of 2001, and is in discussions with DaimlerChysler to take delivery of a further 13,000 Mercedes cars.

Johnsons Honda is to open a new £2m car dealership at the Oxford Motor Park in Kidlington next month.

Laird is to sell its Draftex car body sealings business to GenCorp of the US for £142m, and expects to complete the sale of its other automotive operations over the next few months.

Lotus is to double the output at its plant near Norwich having won a three-year assembly contract from General Motors for the Vauxhall VX220.

London Taxis International has announced plans to transform its Holyhead Road site in Coventry into a retail and business park, which would enable the company to relocate its factory to a larger site nearby.

Reg Vardy has awarded a £5.5m contract to Adonis to build a dealership for Rolls-Royce, Ferrari and Maserati at the MetroCentre in Gateshead.

North West Development Agency is in discussions with US motor industry logistics company Coughlin and metal pressings firm Stadco Pressings about setting up new sites at the Boulevard Industry Park in Speke.

The Welsh Development Agency has announced that TRB of Japan is preparing to open a £6m factory to make automotive switches at the St Asaph Business Park in Denbighshire.

Transrent is planning to expand its truck trailer hire and leasing business, having received a £20m investment from Aberdeen Development Capital and Penta Capital.

Ford has announced plans to build a new diesel engine plant at Dagenham, as part of the previously announced £340m overhaul of the site.

Aston Green is to invest £7m in a new Volkswagen and Audi dealership in Reading, which will involve the relocation from existing sites nearby.

Hodge Continental is setting up a new Chrysler and Jeep dealership in Swansea.

Horners Motor Group is to set up new Skoda dealerships in Bury and Manchester, with the creation of up to 25 jobs.

Marlin Cars is seeking permission to expand its kit cars factory by moving into new premises in Crediton, Devon.

Ford is planning to invest £130m at its Land Rover factory in Solihull over the next year, in order to boost sales and productivity.

Whitacres, the specialist coach builder, has been acquired by Chesterfield-based Frank Guy for undisclosed terms, and there are plans to double production at the Stoke-on-Trent site within five years.

Vauxhall has submitted plans to Ellesmere Port & Neston Borough Council for the £27m expansion of its Merseyside car plant to produce the new Frontera model.

David Henley Systems, the developer of products for car fleets, has been sold to CFS Group in a £7m deal.

Toyota is planning to set up a network of 80 dedicated dealers and recycling centres in the UK to handle its environmentally friendly Prius cars.

BMW is to invest £230m at the Cowley car plant in Oxford to produce the new Mini, which will double the production capacity and provide a long-term jobs boost.

John Clark Motor Group is planning to recruit 16 new staff in Aberdeen, subject to gaining planning permission for a new body shop, commercial vehicle dealership and parts distribution centre.

Avis Europe is planning to set up a network of car hire centres across China over the next five years.

Jaguar has announced plans to create 500 production jobs at its Halewood plant in Liverpool, in order to manufacture the new X400 car from March 2001.

Bostrom, the manufacturer of vehicle seats, has agreed to a £38m takeover offer from a new company called Commercial Vehicle Systems.

HR Owen has acquired Jack Barclay, the London-based Rolls-Royce and Bentley dealership, from Dutton Forshaw for undisclosed terms.

Motorpoint is planning to expand its imported cars business by selling vehicles at Granada motorway service stations across the country.

Kwik-Fit is planning to almost double its fleet of Hometune mobile servicing vans to 260 over the next two years, as part of a strategy to extend the service nationwide.

Nissan is to seek major changes in the work practices at its Sunderland plant, including a move to 24-hour assembly, in order to win a £200m investment to build the new Micra car.

Lola Cars has been chosen by Rover Group to design and build a new MG sports car to compete at next year's Le Mans race.

BikeNet has raised £3m in a flotation on Aim in order to fund the expansion of its online motorcycle business.

Gilders has acquired the Chevin Audi business in Derby for £3m, as part of a strategy to expand its Volkswagen and Audi franchises across the Midlands.

Siemens is planning a £230m project to provide internet links between 19,000 garages and the Vehicle Inspectorate in order to combat MoT fraud, and the company will also use the system to develop an online marketplace for the motor trade.

DaimlerChrysler is setting up a network of city centre retail outlets to sell the Smart car direct to the public.

Sytner is planning to open a new Lexus car dealership in Leicester next year, with the creation of 20 jobs.

Piolax is planning to double the workforce at its plastic car components factory in East Lancashire to up to 150 over the next three years.

Sanderson Bramall is looking to expand its network of motor dealerships from 70 to 100 over the next three years, and has more than £30m to spend on acquisitions.

Arthur Andersen, the receiver to TransTec, is planning to sell the remaining automotive engineering businesses to a joint venture of Triplex and JWK for undisclosed terms.

Jaguar is planning to set up a museum of classic Jaguars at the Halewood car plant, where production of the X400 is due to start next year.

The Welsh Development Agency has announced that SPX Contech of the US is planning to set up a £19m car components factory in Welshpool, which will produce aluminium steering parts and create 200 jobs.

Ford is planning to build a new car production plant and development centre at Gaydon in Warwickshire, in order to more than double the output of its Aston Martin subsidiary to 2,500 cars a year.

Schott is creating 30 new jobs at its fibre optics factory in Doncaster, having been approached by Hella to produce new automotive lighting products.

Porsche is considering plans to relocate its Calcot head office in Reading, where it employs 85 staff, in order to redevelop the site as a Homebase DIY store.

Sturgess Motor Group is planning to open a new Jaguar dealership in Leicester, which will create up to 15 new jobs.

Neath & Port Talbot County Borough Council has announced that Hi-Lex Cable Systems of Japan is planning to set up a car components factory on the Baglan Energy Park in Port Talbot, with the creation of 150 jobs.

Direct Line is to create more than 250 call centre jobs at its Green Flag vehicle recovery business in Pudsey and Leeds.

Coach Europe, the Leicester-based coach dealership, is to relocate its 30 staff to a new £2m headquarters at the Enderby Business Park next year.

Prodrive is to set up a new company to promote a new World Rally Championship designed to rival Formula One, in a move supported by the leading car manufacturers.

BBA has sold its automotive brake pads business to HSBC Private Equity for £389m, as part of a strategy to focus on aviation services and materials technology.

Perry Group has acquired four motor accident repair businesses from Pendragon for £3.4m, and will integrate them into its Nationwide Crash Repair Centres subsidiary.

United Engineering Forgings is to invest up to £10m at its Sheffield factory having won a £45m order to supply engine crankshafts to Iveco and New Holland, and the deal will also secure jobs at its plants in Bromsgrove and Lincoln.

Michelin is launching a recruitment drive in North Staffordshire, in order to help fill about 230 vacancies that have arisen from the closure of eight UK sales offices and the centralisation of the operation at Riverside Park in Stoke.

Automotive Sealing Systems is to close its rubber seals factory in Dunstable with the loss of 400 jobs, and a smaller site will be set up nearby employing about 130 people.

Northgate is expanding its network of vehicle hire companies from 35 to 40 and the number of branches from nine to 60, as part of a strategy to double the size of the business within five years.

BG is planning to set up a centre of excellence for the development of natural gas vehicles in the South East of England, in order to co-ordinate sales and marketing of the technology around the world.

Turkington Holdings is planning to set up a £4.5m auto village in Portadown, which will be a four-acre one-stop shop for everything associated with cars.

Lemark Auto Accessories is to relocate its ignition leads factory from Redditch to Nottingham in July with the loss of 30 jobs.

Ford is opening a £1.5m research facility at Oxford University's Begbroke science park to develop new metal-moulding technology for the creation of tools for stamping out body panels.

Aston Martin Lagonda is investing £5m at its factories in Newport Pagnell and Bloxham, while it continues to look for a third site for a new model.

Fowlers is planning to expand its motorcycle dealership and distribution centre in Bristol, having sold its 10 other stores to Bikes-uk for about £25m.

Britax International is planning to sell its car mirrors business to Reitter & Schefenacker of Germany for about £200m, and is looking to make acquisitions in aircraft interiors, child car seats, and vehicle systems.

Pilkington is planning to acquire an 80% stake in Visteon, Ford's glass division, in order to double its share of the North American automotive glass market to about 40%.

John Roe Motor Sales is planning to set up a £2m Lexus car showroom in Hull, with the creation of 20 jobs.

Jaguar is planning to increase its dealer numbers by up to 20% over the next three years, as part of an expansion that will also see the Jaguar brand move into new areas beyond sports cars.

Ruthven Motor Company, the Inverness-based Mercedes Benz dealership, has been acquired by John R Weir, and the business will be expanded and relocated to a newer facility in the town over the next three years.

Scuffs has secured £7.8m of venture capital in order to develop a nationwide network of vehicle refurbishment sites.

BMW is planning to set up a £63m factory to produce Rolls-Royce cars near the Goodwood racetrack in West Sussex from 2003, with the creation of 350 jobs.

Ford has completed the £1.85bn acquisition of Land Rover from BMW, and is expected to invest heavily in the assembly facilities and dealer network.

Pipers Vauxhall is planning to build a new car showroom and workshop on the outskirts of Tonbridge, with the creation of 15 jobs.

Trafficmaster is planning to create 200 new jobs, partly to help with the development of its new internet-based fleet management service.

Ford is to create 360 new jobs in the UK by making it the centre of its Commercial Vehicle Engineering operations, which will help to offset job losses caused by the end of vehicle production at Dagenham.

Motability Finance, the operator of vehicles for disabled people, is to set up an office in Bristol with the creation of 130 jobs.

Schrader Electronics is to invest £6.7m at its Antrim factory to increase output of a car tyre pressure monitoring system, with the creation of 40 jobs.

Renault is considering plans to close its parts warehouse in Swindon with the loss of 200 jobs, in order to relocate the operation to Nissan's distribution centre near Rugby.

JL French is looking to recruit 200 new workers following a £20m expansion of its automotive castings factory in Witham, Essex.

Dutton Forshaw has won planning permission to build a new Audi showroom in Battersea, London, for its Dovercourt subsidiary.

SEP Industrial is transforming itself into a software company, having sold its Birmingham-based Presstech car parts business and bought London-based banking software house IAS II from its US parent for £1.5m.

BMW has agreed to sell Rover to the Phoenix Consortium of Midlands-based businessmen for a nominal sum, which is expected to secure 8,000 jobs at Longbridge.

Minorplanet Systems is forming an alliance with British Telecom to develop the next generation of vehicle tracking systems.

Vauxhall is investing £130m at its IBC Vehicles factory in Luton to produce a new range of panel vans, with the creation of 500 jobs, and a further £32m will be spent on improvements to car production.

Donington Park in Derbyshire is to host a weekly auction of "grey" market car imports, and the project is being led by the British Independent Motor Traders Association with the creation of 100 jobs.

Hendy Lennox of Southampton has expanded its Ford dealership with the acquisition of Doves of Fareham.

Zeus Group, the Dudley-based supplier of castings to the motor industry, has undergone a management buy-out, and is planning to invest in new equipment and new staff.

BMW is planning to build up to 200,000 cars a year at Rover's Oxford plant, with production of the new Mini starting in the autumn and new BMW models following a few years later.

Trafficmaster is to build a new headquarters at Cranfield in Bedfordshire, and Marriott has won the £5.9m building contract.

Barclays has sold its Dial car leasing business to ABN Amro for £269m, in order to withdraw from the rapidly consolidating market.

Nissan is aiming to achieve cost savings of 30% at its Sunderland plant in order to retain the contract to build the Micra, and component manufacturers are being asked to make similar savings.

Lotus Cars has announced plans to launch a new model called the Exige, and will build 700 units a year starting in June.

Johnson Matthey has announced plans to build a £10m autocatalyst plant in Royston, in order to produce 3.5m catalysts a year.

Honda is planning to build 20,000 of its CRV sports utility vehicles at Swindon over the next year, in order to absorb excess capacity at the plant.

TRW Automotive is to shed up to 120 jobs at its car components factory near Lichfield, in order to relocate its packaging contract to bases in Oxford and Droitwich.

Lotus Cars has started a recruitment drive for 100 engineering jobs in Warwick and Norwich.

Perry Group is planning to expand its Network Services accident management and Nationwide body repair businesses, and reduce its focus on retail vehicle sales and lower-margin fleet sales.

Ellen Group, the credit hire and accident management company, is to set up a 200-seat call centre in Manchester in June.

Scania is to set up a £1.3m truck sale, repair and maintenance centre in Sheffield, with the creation of 30 jobs, and further staff will be relocated from its existing Scanlink centre in Barnsley.

Reg Vardy, the car dealer, is to relocate its Sunderland head office to the Doxford International Business Park next year, with the creation of more than 100 new jobs.

JC Dix Engineering of Waterlooville has received a £1.5m investment that will enable it to open a new factory to produce components for other industries outside the motor racing sector.

Honda has announced plans to recruit a further 1,000 workers at the second car assembly plant being built in Swindon.

Montupet is to expand its Dunmurry car components factory in Northern Ireland with the creation of 130 jobs, following a £16m investment in equipment to produce two new engine heads.

Scuffs is planning to open 16 vehicle refurbishment centres this year, as part of a strategy to build up a network of 250 outlets eventually.

Ford has agreed to acquire Land Rover from BMW for £1.85bn, and is expected to integrate the dealership, finance and marketing functions with those of its other premium car brands.

Essex Ford is to relocate its Basildon showroom to a new £7m site on the A127, making way for the development of a £20m cinema and retail complex that will create about 100 jobs.

Trafficmaster is to spend £40m expanding its traffic information system across Europe this year.

One Stop Car Shop is planning to set up a network of 25 high-street car outlets and a Sheffield-based call centre over the next three years, with the focus mainly on used vehicles.

Pendragon has acquired 32 motor franchises from Lex Service for £95m, in order to improve its nationwide coverage and increase its scale with a number of car manufacturers.

North Norfolk District Council is to consider plans from Trident Cars to build a sports car factory on the former RAF Sculthorpe site near Fakenham, which would create up to 100 jobs.

Bentley Motor Cars of Crewe is said to be preparing to create up to 1,000 extra jobs, in order to manufacture a new medium-sized Bentley model after the Rolls-Royce name transfers to BMW in 2003.

Shell has sold its car care products business to management for £4m, and the new independent company will be named Carix Group.

Lotus is planning to set up an engineering centre in Michigan, which will employ 50 people and provide design consultancy services to the US motor industry.

Pendragon is to create a further 150 jobs at its Sherwood Business Park call centre in Nottinghamshire, following the launch of a £4.5m internet-based car dealership.

Proton is planning to expand its car dealership network by 50% to 60 outlets this year.

Ricardo, the automotive engineering consultancy, is investing £5m in four engine test beds in the US.

Prodrive, the Banbury-based motor sport group, is to set up a test track and engineering centre near Warwick.

Coleman Milne at Westhoughton has set up a new factory for sister company Mellor for the production of van conversions.

Johnson Matthey has announced plans to build an autocatalyst factory in the Shanghai area of China.

Knowsley Council is considering plans for the expansion of the Boulevard Industry Park, in order to provide additional space for component manufacturers to supply Jaguar's Halewood plant.

Direct Line is to set up a £50m internet site to sell cars and motor accessories, and is seeking partnerships with existing motoring suppliers.

Mitsui Components Europe is to recruit 80 workers this year for its new £6m car door components factory in Capel Hendre, Carmarthenshire.

Kwik-Fit has announced plans to double the size of its chain of car service outlets to more than 4,000 within five years, through organic growth and acquisitions in Europe and Asia.

Tempered Spring, the Sheffield-based manufacturer of suspension systems and components, has been acquired by Meritor of the US.

Finelist has recommended a £159m takeover offer from a group of private equity funds, and the business will be merged with French car parts distributor Autodis.

United Kenning Rental Group, the car and commercial vehicle rental company, has been acquired by Sixt Rent A Car of Germany for undisclosed terms.

Johnson Matthey is seeking permission to expand its production facilities in Royston by converting the former Cresswell Lighting premises, and is expected to use the site to manufacture automotive catalysts.

Mercedes-Benz has confirmed plans to manufacture the Vision SLR sports car at a new £200m McLaren complex being built in Woking, and expects to produce 500 vehicles a year and create 250 jobs.

Nissin is planning to set up a new warehouse in South Marston Park in order to distribute components for the Honda factory in Swindon, with the creation of an unspecified number of new jobs.

AP Hydraulics is to shed 190 jobs at its Leamington factory due to the planned shutdown of Mini production in June, and new equipment will be installed to manufacture brake callipers and hoses.

BMW is to relocate the sales and marketing division of its Rover subsidiary from Warwick to its Bracknell headquarters, which will affect more than 300 staff.

ERF, the Cheshire-based truck maker, has been sold by its Canadian parent Western Star to MAN of Germany for about £110m.

Woods Car Rental of Reigate has been acquired by Budget Car & Van Rental for undisclosed terms.

Invensys has sold its automotive sealing systems business to CVC Capital Partners for £245m, and expects to complete its £1.8bn disposal programme by March.

Solihull Council is considering plans from VDO Mannesman of Germany for the development of a new production and warehouse facility for its car electrical systems business, which will create up to 60 jobs.

Riders Garages has won permission to set up Plymouth's first Jaguar dealership at Langage Park, Plympton, with the creation of about 15 jobs.

Optare, the bus builder, is being acquired by North American Bus Industries in a £21m deal.

Wessex Land Rover is to set up a new £2m Land Rover dealership at Port Solent this summer.

Northgate has opened six new van hire depots to take the total to 37, and three more are due to open in the coming months.

British Car Auctions is to set up a new auction centre in Spain this spring, on the main N11 motorway between Madrid and Guadalajara.

Jaguar is to create permanent jobs for 250 contract workers at its Castle Bromwich plant, due to the success of the new S-type model.

Kingsmead Motor has won planning permission to relocate its Bath-based Ford dealership to a new showroom in Lower Bristol Road.

Wakefield Council is to consider plans for the construction of a car supermarket at the Calder Island development, which would create 55 jobs.

Simpsons of Swindon, the Subaru, Isuzu and Proton car dealer, is to set up a third site in the town in order to offer an after-sales and fast-fit franchise service.

Horners Motor Group, the Manchester-based Rover dealership, is to undergo a management buy-out for undisclosed terms.

Aston Martin Lagonda is seeking potential sites around the country for a new plant to build the next generation of sports cars.

Ford is to build a £20m design centre in London, and the exact location will be revealed in a few months time.

Clarks of Stourbridge is to move its Volkswagen dealership to larger premises in Audnam, creating 13 new jobs.

Inchcape is investing £6m in the development of a European version of the Autobytel online car retailing business, which will act as an intermediary between customers and dealers in Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Portugal.

Ryland has acquired the E Ward Ford dealerships in Corby and Kettering for £1.4m.