Made In Britain: Briggs Automotive Company

What does your company do? What products services does it provide?
Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) Ltd, is the British manufacturer of Mono, the world’s first single-seat supercar that is road legal. Mono offers customers a purist driving experience; it’s a car built by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. From our launch in 2009, BAC has delivered 20 hand-built vehicles, and has seen astronomical interest with over 400 potential sales leads from every continent in the world.

Where did the idea for your business come from?
From an early age, my brother Ian and I harnessed a love for motorsport. Pursuing our passion, Ian majored in Car Design at Coventry University whilst I studied Mechanical Engineering at the University of Manchester. We’ve both worked extensively within the automotive industry for brands such as Bentley, Mercedes-Benz and Ford. We’ve lived in the UK, USA and Germany; have designed cars and boats; and have won race pole positions. My brother and I previously had our own design consultancy where the idea originated from.

We always had the desire and vision of any car aficionado: to live the Formula experience, on the road. This desire manifested itself into the projection, creation and production of Mono. This ‘racing technology for the road’ is the embodiment of a dream come true.

When did you start up, and what support were you given?
Briggs Automotive Company Ltd was established in 2009. Financially, the Niche Vehicle Network supported us through development projects and we were the first company to successfully negotiate a deal with the Mayoral Fund in the region. Ever since, we have received immeasurable support from the Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson.

More recently, BAC has become a member of UKTI’s Passport to Export program, which provides us with training, planning and support to grow the business overseas. We have monthly meetings with an International Trade Adviser to discuss internationalization plans. I’d encourage anyone else starting on their export journey to access support from UKTI and the Business is GREAT campaign.

In terms of moral support; family, friends, the employees of BAC and suppliers involved in bringing the car to life have played a major role in bringing BAC to where it is now. We are extremely grateful for all the support we have been given.

What has been your biggest achievement so far?
Mono has won various awards; in 2011 it won Stig’s car of the Year and it’s the fastest car on road legal tyres on Top Gear. The success of Mono has far surpassed what could have been expected, even moving to a bigger factory after only 2 years of production. Seeing a dream come true and resonate with so many is the greatest achievement thus far.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?
Most car manufacturers improve upon previous models, but Mono was designed to look like nothing else; a revolutionary design, rather than an evolutionary one. The design borrows from futuristic robotics. Developing and manufacturing this new concept with the current technology and still road legalising the vehicle and passing the NVA’s approval was the biggest challenge.

How would you say you differentiate yourself from the competition?
It would be easy to say that no real competitors exist, but any company worth its salt knows better! What we can say is that there exists no direct competitor to Mono, the world’s only single-seater road legal supercar. The centralised driving position gives the driver perfect visibility and ideal balance, and that experience is our product’s USP.

What has been the best decision you have made to-date?
The best decision to-date has been to move to Liverpool under the support of the Mayor and chief executive of Liverpool City Council. This move allowed for better working conditions and an increase in production capacity to meet high demand. Simultaneously, the move to Liverpool brought BAC closer to other suppliers and allowed us to make new contacts locally, thus increasing the industrial growth in the North West region.

Where do you see the business in 12 months’ time?
The current growth strategy sees this year’s production output of 30 cars per year growing to 60 by 2015, with similar growth expectation for the following four years. BAC is experiencing increasing levels of demand and we are looking to supply more of these per annum as we mature. Based on the regions from which our sales leads originate, we plan to expand. We’re currently capable of local UK & USA response, and in the next 12 months we’re aiming to expand this capability to mainland Europe.

We have a graduate scheme offering real life experience and responsibilities to train the engineers, designers and business men and women of tomorrow. We are currently in talks with organizations in the community service sector to co-participate in events that aim to have a positive social impact. BAC knows that it has flourished thanks to the community that surrounds it and we aim to return this blessing.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
First and foremost to be clear in what they want to achieve and work every day towards that target. Identify ways in which they can add value and enrich people’s lives, even if this means challenging the status quo, as was the case with Mono. Remember to enjoy the ride and maintain a sense of perspective despite the inherent challenges involved in building a business.

What do you find most satisfying about running a business?
The most satisfying part of running a business is being able to provide a product that keeps turning people’s heads, intrigues them and provides a high level of satisfaction to customers. In particular, the happiness shown by each and every customer after driving the Mono is what we find most satisfying.