A BUSINESSMAN has called for more Government support for UK car makers after his bid to get cash to give his prototype electric car a boost was rejected.
Lawrence Tomlinson, chairman of British car manufacturer Ginetta and a former student at Huddersfield Technical College said: “The focus has been on helping the sales of larger foreign manufactures within the UK.
“What about using a tranche of the money used in the scrappage scheme to aid some of the smaller British car makers such as Ginetta?
“As a niche manufacturer we’ll never produce the same number of vehicles as Nissan’s Sunderland plant, but we do have 51 years of British heritage behind us.
“Surely more UK consumers would buy British if there was a competitive product available for them?
“With the likes of Rover currently dormant, I think we should be championing British manufacturers on some level.’’
Batley-born Mr Tomlinson was speaking out after ministers announced the extension of the £300m car ‘scrappage’ scheme by a further £100m to encourage people to trade in their vehicles for a new motor.
Leeds-based Ginetta is one of the few UK car manufacturers to have a fully working electric car.
Earlier this year, magazine Autocar credited the car for having so much ‘obvious potential’ – yet Mr Tomlinson and his 30-strong team of Ginetta employees have had an application for a development grant turned down by the Government’s Technology Strategy Board.
“This was obviously a disappointment,” said Batley-born Mr Tomlinson.
“In the Ginetta G50EV, we have a fully working electric car, which can run for over 200 miles on a full charge.
“Yet we can’t progress it past the prototype stage as we simply don’t have the level of capital needed to bring it to the open market.
“With ‘green’ motoring high on the Government’s agenda I would have hoped they would invest in the existing technology we have pioneered.”
Ginetta Cars was named Small Business of the Year by the Motorsport Industry Association in 2008.
Mr Tomlinson studied engineering at Huddersfield Technical College and Bradford University. He is founder and chairman of Leeds-based LNT Group with interests in construction, care homes, property valuations, software, aviation, motor racing and electrical and mechanical contracting.