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Off-road vehicles with a twist
A FIRM turning off-road vehicles into bespoke luxury cars is expanding to keep pace with demand.
North Yorkshire-based Twisted, which hand-builds high-performance and versions of the Land Rover Defender to customers' specifications, is moving to new premises four times the size of its current base, and creating jobs across the region.
Twisted will complete about 100 rebuilds in this financial year, and anticipates it will be handling 300 vehicles a year by 2016.
The firm, employing about 14, tries to meet every demand, from 18-carat gold thread to stitch the leather seating, to giving engines a punchy makeover.
In February, Twisted will move into its new headquarters, just 400 yards from its Thirsk base, which it has outgrown, and create four new jobs.
Charlie Fawcett, the firms managing director, said: "We have tripled our production in three years, and are entering new markets globally, which means we're either going to completely dominate the market, or we're going to be a bigger part of a bigger market. Whichever way, we're going to be very busy indeed for the next three years - after which we need to decide whether to grow again, or to cap our production levels.
"This obviously means jobs for local people, but we may well have to cast our net right across the north of England to find the sort of skilled craftsmen we need to work on high-quality interiors, and to do specialist chassis and body-panel work.
"It's a great problem to have when somebody comes along to collect their brand new 75,000 Twisted Defender, and they start talking about what they'd like to trade it in for in two years' time.
"We've always underestimated demand, which has meant we've always had a waiting list - but the waiting list was only going to get longer, so we've taken new premises in Thirsk which will enable us to substantially increase production, but also gives us the option of actually manufacturing some of our own components - those components, as is the case now, will actually be of a higher production quality than standard Land Rover components, but we'll also have the economy of scale that comes with what is looking like three-fold growth.
"We've also put in orders for new equipment to enable us to increase work flow while maintaining the craftsman-built elements of the process.
"The other issue is aftersales and accessories. We're already getting close to running out of space to carry the level of stock required to meet demand from people who want to buy and fit their own Twisted parts - but the new premises will give us that advantage too, and we're also in talks about running logistics for manufacturers of similar standing."
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