Rosebud loan is set to fuel Blackpool sports car firm's overseas ambitions

County Councillor  Michael Green, with the Mirage Automotive Developments team Leigh Whiteman, Matt Potts, Terry Whiteman, Julie Whiteman and Scott Whiteman.
County Councillor Michael Green, with the Mirage Automotive Developments team Leigh Whiteman, Matt Potts, Terry Whiteman, Julie Whiteman and Scott Whiteman.
Share this article

A Fylde hand made sports car specialist is set to supply the over seas market after being fuelled by a county business support loan.

Westby-based Mirage Automotive Developments has been given a £25,000 loan from Lancashire County Council’s Rosebud Micro fund to strengthen the firm’s cash flow position.

The team with one of the finished Mirage GTs

The team with one of the finished Mirage GTs

This has allowed managing director Matthew Potts to accelerate production of the left-hand drive variant of the Mirage GT model for overseas markets.

Mirage Automotive Developments offers modern engineered vehicles with early 60s classical looks and features.

It was formed in 2016, although the initial idea, design, prototyping and manufacture of ‘car number one’ had been ongoing since 2009.

The business currently manufactures one model, the 140 mph Mirage GT which has the lines of the classic Ferrari 250. Each car is hand-made in the firm’s Peel Road factory.The

company has capacity to produce between six and ten a year but is looking to expand premises and workforce to meet rising demand.

Matthew said: “As orders for more vehicles were being taken, it was obvious there would be some early cash flow problems due to the nature of the supply chain and suppliers’ terms.

"Some form of cash flow relief was needed, and various options were available. Not wanting to raise money in exchange for equity in the company, a short-term cash flow loan was the most appropriate.

“We came across Rosebud having found information on the internet about local authority backed schemes. After an initial discussion with Access to Finance adviser Jonathan Nelson, this seemed like the right path for us.”

Matthew then met Sue Roberts from the Rosebud team, who structured the loan.

Rosebud is delivered in association with Boost; Lancashire’s Business Growth Hub. Led by the Lancashire Local Enterprise Partnership and Lancashire County Council, Boost is supported by funding from the European Regional Development Fund.

Matthew added: “The loan has certainly helped with cash flow. It’s given us the flexibility to renegotiate terms and contracts with some of our bigger suppliers to alleviate future cash flow restrictions.

“As a result we have been able to get the early vehicles manufactured on time, which has allowed us to accelerate our LHD product variant. Because of this, we have been able to bring the launch of our LHD GT forward to November 2018 and start taking orders for LHD vehicles as we start to grow the business.”

County councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “Smaller manufacturing companies have great growth potential and we’re always proud to hear of success stories where Rosebud’s involvement has helped to kickstart the company on their next growth stage.

“It’s also great to hear that companies are growing and creating new jobs for local people, which brings wider economic benefits."