Car parts business revs up

BUSINESS at a classic car trim manufacturer is revving up as drivers continue to invest in their vehicles.

BUSINESS at a classic car trim manufacturer is revving up as drivers continue to invest in their vehicles.

While a collapse in demand for new cars has hit car giants such as Ford and Chrysler, Leiston-based Newton Commercial says it is taking on additional staff to cope with a rise in demand for its products.

Its 50-strong workforce, which has been making car trim for classic British and European cars since 1978, produces more than 13,000 lines for worldwide sales, predominantly to wholesalers.

The family-owned firm specialised in providing parts for cars like the Morris Minor and original Mini, but as the market for these shrank, it contacted the University of Cambridge Institute for Manufacturing to help it develop a long-term strategy.


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It recommended moving away from making stock to manufacture on demand, freeing up an additional 20% of space to increase manufacturing capacity.

Operations director Jonny Newton said working with IfM helped them to move the business forward. They introduced new products and created additional revenue schemes.

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“We are an old style manufacturer, we cut things with scissors, we make things with our hands. We didn't all go to university, but these guys at the IfM gave us validation of the things we were doing right and gave us direction,” he said.

“The number of cars we were manufacturing for was reducing and the client base was getting older, it was clear that for the long-term survival of the firm we needed more products.

“I needed someone with manufacturing experience who could help me realise my plans for the business.”

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