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The Rejuvenation Of The Great British Brands

By raccars Published

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The current success of the UK's auto industry is a truly heart-warming tale but is, ultimately, to be laid at the door of the foreign brands and investors who took a leap of faith by building new manufacturing plants here at a time when confidence was at an all-time low. Nissan, Honda and Toyota led the way and have been amply rewarded. However, it's the revival of some old and great British names that provide the real human interest story in this epic tale.

Everyone knows what's happened to Mini - revamped by BMW to regain its place as the UK's best loved car, but this time, in premium format. At the other end of the automotive scale is Rolls-Royce. Less than two decades ago, the famous marque had no cars, no factory and appeared to be breathing its last. Now sales are reaching record highs and plants are struggling to keep up with production. Once again, BMW investment is at the heart of the issue but the body and soul of the company is out and out British, using home grown design, engineering and manufacturing talents.

Also in the luxury arena are Bentley and Aston Martin, equally desirable names being bankrolled by foreign parent companies. Bentley comes under the massive VW Group umbrella, but that firm's management is shrewd enough to recognise the importance of its English heritage. Aston Martin is co-owned by firms in Italy and Dubai, but remains based in Warwickshire, at its famous Gaydon site.

When Ford sold Jaguar and Land Rover to Indian firm, Tata, in 2008 at the beginning of the global financial crisis, the future looked bleak. Two thousand employees were laid off and spirits were damaged. Less than a decade later, JLR is one of the most vibrant and exciting auto firms in the world and biggest auto name in the UK. The last few years have seen it employ more than 15,000 new staff, to take the total workforce past 30,000.

Largely thanks to input from Tata, Land Rover is the most important off road vehicle manufacturer in the world and Jaguar is challenging the dominance of the German big three premium brands, without losing the mystique of its name - and it's not only the major names that are the bright British stars in the automotive sky. Niche brands, like Lotus and Morgan, are managing to survive against the corporate giants, creating gloriously individual, hand crafted and unmistakably British sports cars. The future is looking very bright indeed.

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