In a move that rekindles memories of the Midlands’ car-building past, CPP Global Holdings are planning to move to Browns Lane, former home of Jaguar.
As regular readers will know, we’re big fans of CPP and are always happy to big them up at the drop of a hat, even before they acquired Vladimir Antonov’s money and set forth on a mission to buy up the world’s niche car makers.
So with solid funding from ‘Vlad the Investor’, CPP are on a fast road to being a sizeable force in world car manufacture; not in the volume sense, but certainly in the impact their products are making.
Despite pointing out to us that they haven’t actually bought Zagato (technically correct) Zagato is now very much part of the CPP portfolio, as is extreme off-roader Bowler – a more recent acquisition – both solid names to exploit in a high-end car maker future Nirvana.
Of course, the bedrock for this growth - apart from Valdaimir’s money – has been the Spyker deal and the high-end, one-off projects for companies like Aston Martin (One-77, V12 Zagato). And there’s no doubt that will continue, despite CPP’s growing profile, and new doubt over the Spyker deal.
The doubt over the Spyker deal has arisen because of the mess Victor Muller is in with Saab. That has meant the MOU for CPP to acquire Spyker has lapsed, but there is virtually zero chance the deal will collapse; it’s all about the timing.
And now, to get to the point of the story, CPP are to acquire part of the old Browns Lane site in Coventy, spiritual home of Jaguar and where Jaguars were produced right up until a few short years ago. Although, as far as we know, Jaguar do still make posh wood there for bolting on the dashboards of current Jags, but the Trim Shop is just a small part of the old 100 acre Browns Lane site.
The rest of Browns Lane is now a brownfield site, and CPP plans a bespoke facility to bring together their current five sites under one roof, with ample scope for expansion in the future. Brendan O’Toole, CPP MD, said:
This is a decisive moment in CPP’s strategy to cement Coventry’s reputation as a world-class centre of automotive excellence. Bringing together the group’s various businesses and facilities within a single, purpose-built location is possibly the most exciting part of the entire plan.
It seems fair to assume that CPP has some big acquisition plans under its hat if it’s stepping up to buy Browns Lane (admittedly just 23 acres of Browns Lane, but that’s still a sizeable facility), or it intends to sell more Spykers a week than have been sold in its entire history to date. We tend towards the former.
With planning permission to acquire, plans to draw up and building to complete, we can’t see CPP moving to Browns Lane much before 2014. Of course, it’s always possible there will be planning problems to overcome which could delay that, but we can’t see it.
Coventry City Council will be delighted at the prospect of car making back in Browns Lane ( the then CCC Leader Ken Taylor was quick to turn up at CPP when they took Spyker production on board), and even more delighted that a stalwart part of the local business community like CPP are behind the plans.
Blimey, CPP even sponsor the Coventry Blaze Ice Hockey team – a team now known as CPP Coventry Blaze, no less – as proof of their commitment to Coventry. Which won’t exactly make their dealings with the local council more difficult.
It’s all coming together very nicely for CPP and ‘Vlad the Investor’.