British luxury sports car maker Jensen Motors has laid off its entire workforce of 40 while it considers whether to move production abroad, the Daily Telegraph reported.

A Jensen spokesman insisted staff at the Speke factory in Liverpool had not been made redundant but laid off while the factory is reviewed by new owners, the MacDonald Partnership, the newspaper said.

The spokesman told the Daily Telegraph: “No decision has yet been made but the MacDonald Partnership have a base plan which includes looking at relocating production to a lower cost country. One of the countries they would be looking at is South Africa.

“An intensive review of the business is under way and no decision will be made until that review is complete, which is likely to take a couple of weeks.”

The newspaper said that Jensen was established in the 1930s and became a classic brand after the Second World War before ceasing production in the late 1970s. It was revived in the mid-1990s at Speke, where two of the 160mph SV8s were built a week.

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The Daily Telegraph said Jensen was enticed to Speke by large grants from Liverpool City Council and the Merseyside Special Investment Fund, which both contributed a reported £250,000 each.