Britain's Morgan Motor Company, which claims to be the world's oldest independently owned sports car manufacturer, has appointed Alan Garnett as executive chairman following the recent death of Peter Morgan.

A past council member of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Garnett brings over 25 years experience in the European automotive industry to Morgan, where he has been a non-executive director since 1998.

As chief executive of the Midlands-based Webasto sunroof group, he guided the business from a turnover of under £1 million to market leadership and a £90 million turnover. His other business responsibilities currently include chairman of Plastic Technologies Ltd of Smethwick.

"I am extremely proud and honoured to be appointed executive chairman and work with the directors of a company and a marque that holds a unique place in the hearts of many thousands of motoring enthusiasts worldwide," said Garnett. "The immediate future is very exciting and challenging, with the important American launch of the new 2004 model Aero 8, a new V6 traditional model, and real success on the international motor racing scene all in prospect."

Morgan, in business for 94 years, hand-builds around 700 sports cars a year, half of which are exported.