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Interesting Autoweek article:

Brit woes (again): Sports car makers AC Cars and Jensen struggle to survive


AC’s carbon-fiber Cobra look-alike, the CRS
Two British sports car makers—AC Cars and Jensen—have hit trouble.

AC Cars—Britain’s oldest carmaker and the co-creator of the Cobra with Carroll Shelby—is refinancing and switching production to the Mediterranean island of Malta. Debts of $14 million and sales last year of just 35 cars prompted the refinancing package.

Meanwhile, Jensen is in financial trouble (a sentence we’ve written more than a few times over a span of decades) and a bailout plan has collapsed. The plan had called for moving production of the Jensen SV8 roadster to South Africa.

Volkswagen’s Australian finance arm, VW Financial Services, has guaranteed long-term funding for the new Malta-based AC Motor Holdings. The Aussie link comes through businessman James Smith, who imports Lamborghinis Down Under and is a partner in an AC venture to import liquid petroleum gas-powered Ford Falcon pickups to the United Kingdom.

Production of AC’s carbon-fiber Cobra look-alike, the CRS, the new Mamba coupe and its soft-top equivalent, the Ace, will move to Malta. Handmade alloy-bodied MkIVs will continue to be built in England, fulfilling a three-year contract AC says it has to provide those cars for export to the United States.

The Maltese government is reportedly funding the factory, although AC refuses to comment on specifics. The refinancing package reportedly includes a contract with an unnamed U.S. importer for sale of the MkIV, an updated version of the Cobra original.

Meanwhile, Jensen’s future looks bleak. Relaunched in a blaze of publicity in October 1999 after six years of dormancy, the company invested $14 million into its metal-bodied SV8 roadster, which sells for £40,000 ($62,000) in the United Kingdom. Only 24 SV8s have been delivered, but the company claims to have orders for another 200.

Production snarls have eaten into cash reserves and the company has been forced to refinance. Break-even at its factory in Speke, Liverpool, was four cars a week and it never managed more than half that level. Promised funding to the tune of $1.5 million from turnaround specialist The MacDonald Partnership failed to materialize.


· Banned
5,303 Posts
more than half of any business is the BUSINESS side, apart from the PRODUCT side.

crazy car people usually dont have the interest or ability to conduct a real company, one more reason the smiths have more ahead of them than behind them!

there's value in the AC and jensen names though, so they will probably linger on for a few more decades.

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