The Goodwood Festival of Speed kicks off in style as international car manufacturers and motorsport enthusiasts gather to revel in automotive prowess, beauty of design and, of course, speed.
On Thursday July 1 the world’s largest annual motorsport convention opened its gates. This year’s addition of an extra day of motoring celebration allowed for the launch of the moving motor show which allowed prospective buyers and company guests to test drive the latest models from the automotive production lines on Goodwood’s prestigious hill track.
Following hard on the heels of the first Automotive Council meeting to be chaired by the new Business Secretary, Vince Cable, the event showed plenty of evidence that UK automotive manufacturing is making a courageous come back after undeniably dark times in the recession.
The Automotive Council meeting revealed the news that GM has signed deals to bring over £100 million worth of manufacturing work back to the UK and at Goodwood there was a dominant presence from companies like Toyota who were keen to show off their recently launched Auris – a hybrid car being manufactured in Burnaston, Derbyshire.
However success stories at the festival are not only in the form of profitable UK investment from foreign brands. Home grown automotive manufacturers like Morgan Motors, Triumph and Norton all had positive growth stories to tell too. Managing director of Morgan, Charles Morgan says “Collaboration and innovation are bringing us new opportunities all the time. We are working on some exciting new models – like a new four-seater, the Morgan EvaGT, which has great market potential and also a consumer version of our concept LIFECar. The work we are doing in the field of environmental sustainability is particularly innovation – we have a number of unique collaborative projects in the making.”
There was also optimism from the often overlooked kit car industry with companies such as Gardner Douglas and Westfield able to show returning confidence in their order books – not only in the UK but also from the European market. Although frequently dismissed, the kit car industry has been able to be agile and intuitive in the way it has ridden the recession due to the small size of its companies and the proximity of concept designs to production models – generally under one roof. There is also surprising enterprise in the use and exploitation of technology for design quality improvement and environmental innovation within this miniature sector – particularly from Westfield who launched their electric race car the iRACER at the Geneva Motor Show in March this year.
The Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010 continues until Sunday July 4.