Two former MG Rover workers have used the carmaker's collapse as a springboard to start their own automotive accessory business.
Seven months after Longbridge ended car production Martin Thirlaway and David Durrant are now joint directors of XSR Enterprises where they design and develop car accessories. Mr Thirlaway said they had been thinking about setting up their own business for more than a year after it became clear Rover was in difficulties.
He said: ?We decided to go it alone long before the closure was announced because we could see the writing was on the wall.
?Despite that, it?s not easy to start your own business and we had to live off our savings for four months because we had no real money coming in. It?s been a worrying time but now things are really looking up.?
The business, which is based at Coventry University?s Technology Park, designs and advises on accessories such as roof racks, mats and tow bars.
It has already linked up to provide engineering consultancy for X-Part, the former Rover parts business, while it has also carried out feasibility studies for accessories for Jaguar and Land Rover.
As well as enjoying the state-of-the-art facilities at the Technology Park, XSR has signed up to the University?s Vision Works programme which supports business start-ups and entrepreneurs.
Mr Durrant said: ?We?ve had a business mentor, free of charge, who helped us present a financial plan to the bank.
?We?ve also met a number of other automotive companies involved in the programme and explored ways we can work together. At least one contract we?ve won came as a direct result of being based at the Technology Park.?
The duo are now eyeing happier times after a difficult year.
Mr Durrant said: ?I actually studied industrial transport design at Coventry University so I feel like I?m coming home.
?The University, like the city itself, has such a strong automotive history and it?s great to be back.?
Mr Thirlaway said the company was aiming to eventually become involved in the manufacture of its own accessories.
He said: ?There is a shortage of accessory sup-pliers in the automotive industry and that?s where we come in.?