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Last Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006, 15:27 GMT 16:27 UK
TVR temporarily lays off workers
TVR car
TVR production is said to be down to just two cars a week
UK sports carmaker TVR has confirmed that it has temporarily laid off staff, but said less than half of its workforce are affected.

Its comments came after the Transport and General Workers' Union said half of the firm's 300 employees had received a letter telling them to stay at home.

A TVR spokesman said it had made the move after poor winter sales.

He added that the Blackpool firm hoped the affected staff could return to work once it had got its finances in order.

A spokesman for the Transport and General Workers' Union said it planned to meet with TVR bosses on Monday.

He added that staff at TVR had "bent over backwards" to help the company, including agreeing to delay a January pay increase until the summer.

Super-rich father

TVR was bought in 2004 by young Russian multi-millionaire Nikolay Smolensky, who was just 23 at the time.

Mr Smolenksy's personal wealth is estimated at $100m (56m).

Much of his money is reported to have come from the businesses created by his father: Russia's first private banker, the oligarch Alexander Smolensky.

TVR currently makes five different models - the Sagaris, Tuscan, Tuscan Convertible, T350 and Tamora.

The firm was founded in 1947 by Trevor Wilkinson, who used three consonants from his first name for the company title.

TVR's cars have long been popular with sports car enthusiasts who value an exciting drive and value for money.

However, production at the company's Blackpool plant is said to have fallen from 12 cars a week to two.




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