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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 07:13 GMT
Supercar plan jobs hope
Sports car
The car would follow a line of high-end cars made in the UK
One of the world's most expensive car could be built in south Wales, bringing up to 700 jobs to the area.

The cars would cost more than 250,000, and be constructed on a site between Cardiff and Swansea.

The move would build on a tradition of high-end cars manufactured in the UK, and could see south Wales become a centre for specialist vehicle-making.

Professor Garel Rhys, director of the Centre for Automotive Research at Cardiff Business School, has been involved in feasibility studies for the scheme, called Project Zircon.

"Production could start in four years, but it could be earlier," he said.

"Project Zircon is a well-funded project and stands a very good chance."

Professor Rhys said "super-rich users around the world" were lining up to buy the car.

We have never lost our skills and abilities in making true luxury and performance cars
Professor Garel Rhys

"This project can tap into a niche for a purely British car, powered by a British-made engine," he said.

"There are signs of there being a very large pre-order book."

He said the UK had "a tremendous reservoir of research skills, a cluster of great design houses and a huge depth of knowledge of creating high-performance cars from our experience in motor racing, particularly in Formula One".

"We have never lost our skills and abilities in making true luxury and performance cars, and companies outside Britain have recognised that," he said.

"That is why Volkswagen and BMW went to Bentley and Rolls-Royce to find their highest-level models and why luxury and performance cars remain a true British strength."

Professor Rhys added that plans were also being discussed for a satellite plant to be set up in Florida to cater for the American market.

The car is being designed and developed by a consortium headed by Relf-Richards Limited based in Gawsworth, United Kingdom.

The motor industry has shown recent confidence in Wales with new jobs created in both the north and south..

Ford UK announced last November that there would be 600 additional workers taken on at its Bridgend engine plant to produce a new generation petrol engine, due to come into full production in 2006.

In Flintshire, car seat manufacturer Faurecia created 200 jobs to produce seats for Vauxhall.

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