Professor Krish Bhaskar who formerly led the Triple A bid for failed Midlands car manufacturer MG Rover Group Limited, has unveiled his vision for the future, following the sale of the Longbridge based business to China’s Nanjing Automotive.
Professor Bhaskar said: “I am currently in discussions with a number of potential partners, to re-establish a well known brand from the heyday of the British motor industry. Codenamed ‘Project Tempest’, development work on a core range of affordable, high performance cars, is now at an advanced stage. The basic package will cost as little as £25,000, offering performance and handling characteristics traditionally associated with cars costing significantly more.”
“Irrespective of specification, all cars will be electronically limited to a top speed of 155mph. Even the base model will possess sprightly acceleration, with a 0-60mph time of less than 5 seconds. Higher performance models will be capable of 0-100-0mph in under 12 seconds.”
However, Professor Bhaskar acknowledges that in developing the new models, drivability and safety have proven as important as straight line speed and raw performance.
“Each car will incorporate a host of active and passive safety features. Project Tempest is about creating a range of exciting and safe cars that are fun to drive, with class leading fuel economy. Impressive performance does not have to be at the expense of safety, or indeed drivability. So for instance, the performance of the car will ultimately be monitored by a series of on board computers. Most of the time, they will do little else other than passively monitor performance. But in the event that the vehicle could leave its performance envelope, they will intervene to ensure that the limits of the car are never exceeded.”
Professor Bhaskar will neither confirm nor deny suggestions, that the new car will be a spiritual successor to the Austin Healey 3000. But he does admit to having been inspired by the legendary British roadster.
“I would dearly like to a see a 21 st. century Healey,” says Professor Bhaskar “Who wouldn’t? Since the performance and engineering specification of the vehicle was signed off a few weeks ago, we’ve been busy finalising body design and have drawn inspiration from the heyday of the British motor industry. The attached image provides an indication of how a spiritual successor to a ‘Big Healey’ could look.”
There is one problem, though: Professor Bhaskar does not currently have rights to the Austin Healey brand.
Professor Krish Bhaskar studied at the London School of Economics and subsequently taught at London School of Economics, University of Bristol and was appointed to a founding Chair at the University of East Anglia. In total he has published more than 34 books and written several hundred articles, papers and monographs. He founded The Motor Industry Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and also the 1Automotive / MIRU group of companies.
His professional interest in the motor industry started with a research grant given by the Joseph Rowntree Social Trust to study what to do with the then stalled British Leyland. He produced an alternative to the famous Ryder Report which evaluated 18 alternatives under a variety of objectives such as employment, profitability. He was supportive of British Leyland’s strategy of developing links with Honda. He was a prime mover behind the sale of Jaguar and nearly led a successful bid for Jaguar much to the pleasant surprise of then Chairman, Sir John Egan.
For much of the 1980s and the 1990s he was the sole adviser to the European Commission on such issues as state aid, innovation in the automotive industry and block exemption. At various stages in his career he has also worked closely with DRI/Global Insight, Marketing Systems, PwC/Autofacts, J D Powers and Associates, LMC, Primedia/Wards and other agencies. Manufacturers to whom he has provided consultancy services include General Motors, Ford, Jaguar, DaimlerChrysler, Renault, Fiat and Volkswagen Group.
In 1994 he moved to Nice/Monaco, but also works out of the US where he can be found working in mainly Detroit, Miami and Los Angeles.
MIRU is a global leader in the supply of motor industry research information and was originally established in 1970. Today, the company is based in Nice, France. MIRU has been one of the leading automotive forecasting agencies specializing in automotive demand and other forecasting for the motor vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. MIRU has been concentrating on production forecasts geared to the needs of automotive suppliers and the industry in general. MIRU is also one of the leading authorities in the World on distribution, block exemption, marketing, product policy, long term policy, productivity, profitability, plant location and construction and many other fields. It specialises in the automotive field.