IT MAY have been doom and gloom for much of the car industry in 2018, with manufacturing dropping nearly 10% to a five year low, but for quintessentially British sports car maker Morgan it was boom time.
Last year saw the Malvern-based company achieve a pre-tax profit of £3.4m, representing a 95% increase over its £1.73m in 2017, and Morgan’s largest profit in its 110-year history.
Remarkably, the niche car maker managed to nearly double its profits despite producing fewer cars: only 681 vehicles were built in 2018, compared with 750 the year before, as Morgan brought to an end its 50-year relationship with V8 engines.
Morgan attributes the financial boon to “positive growth in gross margins” linked to record prices for the final run of Aero GT and Plus 8 50th Anniversary limited-edition models, as well as continuing improvements to production efficiency.
Morgan hopes to keep up the momentum this year with the launch of a new “Wide Body” flagship model, which will use an all-new aluminium architecture and new engine (thought to be a turbocharged six cylinder from BMW). The new model comes on the back Morgan’s biggest ever investment in R&D of £6.3m over three years.
The outcome of Brexit negotiations may play a role in Morgans fortunes this year, as around 70% of cars made in Malvern are exported to 50 countries around the world. Then again, with such a niche product, overseas buyers may be more prepared to swallow additional tariffs.
Steve Morris, Morgan’s managing director, said: “Our results in 2018 have been extremely impressive and give us the solid foundation to move forwards into an important year for the business.”
Morgan chairman Dominic Riley added: “Ever-improving efficiency and rising gross margins are fantastic to see and have come about thanks to the shared strategic vision and the hard work by everyone at Morgan.”