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Geneva: Plus Six begins new era for Morgan

Sale of majority stake in British maker ends 110 years of family ownership.

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Morgan unveiled an all-new model, the Plus Six, at the Geneva motor show, but the event was far more pivotal for the British manufacturer.

The firm famed for its very traditional sports cars also announced that after 110 years of continuous family ownership, it has sold a majority stake to Italian investment company InvestIndustrial, thus ending its status as the last UK-owned volume car manufacturer.

The Morgan family will retain a share in the company, while management and staff have also taken hold of a share. Morgan hasn’t divulged what percentage InvestIndustrial has taken in the company, nor how much it paid but managing director Steve Morris was hopeful for the future.

“It was felt that, 110 years on, it’s getting incredibly challenging to develop new models,” he said, speaking to the Press Association at the show.

“We saw this as a huge opportunity to give us the firepower to propel ourselves forward and really recognise the full potential of Morgan.

“Now we’ll be able to invest in the infrastructure, whether that’s the visitor centre at the factory, the dealer distribution network globally, or really importantly model development.”

Long-awaited new model

The Plus Six is Morgan’s first new model in 19 years, and a replacement for the iconic V8-powered Plus 8.

The largest change comes under the bonnet. The Plus Six is the first Morgan to utilise a turbocharged engine – an inline six-cylinder unit taken from BMW. It produces 340hp sent to the rear wheels through a ZF eight-speed automatic gearbox – the same hardware and output in the new BMW Z4 and Toyota Supra.

Morgan claims that the Plus Six will hit 60mph in four seconds, and carry on to a 165mph top speed. Despite this impressive performance, it’ll return a claimed 38.2mpg combined, and emit 170g/km of CO2.

The car is built around an all-new bonded aluminium chassis, which is both stiffer and lighter than previous cars built by Morgan using the same technique. However, in keeping with the brand’s building practices, wood – English ash – is still employed within the car’s frame.

The Plus Six is on sale now, and prices start at £77,995.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.