Morgan's new three wheeler
The Conservative Councillor and Leader of Birmingham City Council, the largest local authority in Europe, is in discussion with both Charles Morgan and myself at the Morgan factory in Malvern.
The idea is unthinkable. Yet this is the official cost of the bank bailout, revealed by the National Audit Office last year. But then Mike Whitby is a Conservative politician who thinks the unthinkable. Or perhaps you'd call it thinking out of the box.
Mike listens with enthusiasm as Charles Morgan recounts their extraordinary story spanning over 100 years. "The three-wheeler was the start-up of the business when launched by my grandfather, 'HFS' Morgan. It still holds many speed records. In 1935 Morgan produced its first 4-wheeler and the Four Four remains a classic to this day providing people with a sports car for £26,000 that does 50 miles to the gallon."
The new three-wheeler is the personification of Morgan's brand values and already the business has taken 450 orders from all over the world. "We're incredibly proud of being the largest car maker still in British hands," says Charles."We turn over £40m, producing around 1000 cars a year and exporting 70% of these."
|Morgan Motor Company launches its new three wheeler|
"The LEP is critical to our on-going development as the influence of Birmingham on the rest of the region is like a river delta on its alluvial flood plain," says Mike. "It's about using this influence to promote us to investors and talent - here and abroad. Promoting us, not only as 'open for business', but a city with 'a passion for makingthings'."
|Morgan Motor Company new design development|
Mike speaks about the revival taking place at MG, owned by SAIC Motor Corp, China's largest domestic automotive producer. He's been a frequent visitor to China and Hong Kong since 2004, developing links with this and other valuable export markets and trading partners, with a visit to Shanghai planned in a few weeks time.
|Mike Whitby, Leader Birmingham City Council with|
Charles Morgan in the Morgan Heritage Centre
|Charles Morgan and Councillor Whitby view|
the new Morgan three wheeler
The Big City Plan is the driver, targeting the redevelopment of 2,000 acres of City centre land to dramatically improve the look and feel of Birmingham as part of our long range planning.
"Key to this," says Mike, "will be improving our physical environment to attract people and improve the city's image through well designed buildings, streets and spaces. We need to offer attractive homes, schools, public transport, health and social facilities. All this is challenging given the likely 10% population uplift.
|Morgan three wheeler|