Mike Humble/Bus and Coach magazine
Ashok Leyland, the owner of Optare, is to open a Research and Development Centre at the MIRA Technology Park in Nuneaton, creating 30 jobs. The decision was confirmed during this week’s visit to India by prime minister David Cameron.
Ashok Leyland increased its shareholding in the Yorkshire-based Optare group which was the former British Leyland owned body manufacturer Charles H. Roe. Along with ECW of Lowestoft – another BL-owned concern which closed in the 1980s, Roe became surplus to requirements with the contraction of Leyland bus manufacturing following the Transport Deregulation act 1985.
When ECW shut down, Roe was subject to a management buy out from plant director Russell Richardson and flourished during the minibus boom and survived where others faded away. Optare more recently became victim to the threat of hostile take over from the Falkirk-based Alexander Dennis Group spurring Ashok Leyland to confirm their long term commitment to Optare, its Sherburn-in-Elmet production plant and British engineering tallent by increasing their shareholding to a majority position.
Sam Burman, Ashok Leyland’s Chief Technical Officer, said: ‘We have some problems to hire people and find skills in India and we think we can find those skills in the UK.’
Story: Bus and Coach magazine