There's been plenty of tough news for the British automotive industry in recent weeks, what with JLR's struggles and Nissan relocating X-Trail production away from Sunderland. It's not all doom and gloom, though, with one of the UK's oldest marque's enjoying record success. Morgan has announced record profits for the third year in a row, its year-end financial results for 2018 seeing profits before tax increasing by over 95 percent from £1.73m in 2017 to £3.4m today.
The manufacturer credited increased efficiency at its Malvern factory and a five per cent increase in export orders for the boost, as well as orders in the final quarter of 2018 "exceeding all expectations." This is despite the company actually producing fewer models over the past year, with run-out editions of the V8 Aero GT and Plus 8 50th Anniversary Edition taking centre stage.
With those much-loved cars now a thing of the past, attention turns to the future. With 2019 seeing Morgan's 110th anniversary, the firm is gearing up to launch its next generation 'Wide Body' model. It's success over the past few years has allowed the company to invest heavily in R&D for that car - over £6.3 million during that time. This has resulted in the development of an all-new bonded aluminium platform which, when paired with the new bought-in powertrain - one "never before installed in a Morgan", but believed to be 400hp-plus turbocharged straight-six - is claimed to make the Wide Body the most dynamically capable production Morgan ever.
There'll still be plenty of wood, of course, Morgans always having been based on a metal platform of some description, so those worried by talk of potential future electrification of the model needn't worry that Malvern has lost its way completely. The quintessential Morgan styling we've all come to know and love isn't going anywhere either, as demonstrated by these "spy shots" supplied by Morgan. The classic testing disguise doesn't exactly work as well on a car with such distinctive design and large, flat surfaces, revealing the 'Wide Body' to look much like the love child of a 4/4 and Aero 8. No bad thing.
Speaking of both the company's 2018 results and future plans, Managing Director Steve Morris said: "Morgan Motor Company's continuing success can be attributed to three essential ingredients: our skilled workforce, our strategic vision and our heritage. Our results in 2018 have been extremely impressive and give us the solid foundation to move forwards into an important year for the business.
"We have waved a fond farewell to our iconic V8 models and are looking forward to entering the most exciting chapter yet, as we celebrate our 110th anniversary, with a new 'Wide Body' sports car due this year."
Chairman of Morgan Motor Company, Dominic Riley, added: "Our focus on a stable, profitable and innovative Morgan Motor Company is clearly represented in the year-end results. Ever-improving efficiency and rising gross margins are fantastic to see and have come about thanks to our shared strategic vision and the hard work by everyone at Malvern. Investment in R&D has never been higher and it is only fitting that this investment will benefit our customers for years to come."