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TVR to recruit more dealers

TVR, bought by 24-year-old Russian former banker Nikolay Smolensky 18 months ago, wants to recruit more dealers in the UK and mainland Europe ready for a planned increase in sales.

The Blackpool-based sportscar builder terminated its 15-strong UK retail network on December 31, but has reinstated all of them in a more formal agreement.

Ian Law, TVR spokesman, says: “We are happy with our network but have gaps in Leeds, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow. We hope to recruit four or five more dealers by March 1.”

TVR cannot say how many of its cars were registered in Britain last year (the figure is included in ‘other British’ in SMMT statistics). But it made 712 cars and says “about 95%” were sold in this country.

The company has few dealers in mainland Europe (two in Germany) and knows a bigger retail presence is essential if it is to expand. In July 2004, TVR declared an ambition to “enhance the brand and become a global player”.

In January, the manufacturer received setback to that ambition in the form of a mild rebuke from the Office of Fair Trading, which said it was in breach of Block Exemption regulations.

An independent garage complained to the OFT that a franchised TVR dealer failed to supply it with engine parts. Now TVR has contacted all its dealers, reminding them of their obligation to supply independents. The OFT is taking no further action.

Law says: “The complaint was from a garage that used to be one of our dealers. TVR engines require specialist knowledge.”

Brian Spratt, ADF chief executive, says: “I’m pleased about the OFT’s action. I’d like it taken against larger carmakers because some lie about ensuring parts distribution to independents.”

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