TVR has fired six UK dealers over the past 18 months while fellow specialist sports car maker Noble has scrapped its retail network.


The two companies, which between them sell about 1,270 new cars a year, have underlined the volatile business of representing sports car franchises.


Peter Wheeler, chairman of Blackpool-based TVR, said: “We are currently gently recruiting dealers. We fired the six franchise holders because they were not suitable. There’s a cycle where you lose their enthusiasm and friendship over the years. It’s better to part company after winding each other up.”


TVR currently has 18 dealers and Wheeler plans to hire another six. He admitted that filling open points depended on “how far owners are willing to travel for service and back up.”


Wheeler said TVR was “constantly considering” a return to the North American market but it would involve doubling the size of the company and establishing an assembly operation in the USA.


He said: “We would go west if someone comes up with a sensible plan, including a fairly substantial facility, probably a kit-building operation. It is an issue to have people who really know the cars and take care of them and the customers properly. The company fell foul of being in the US 20 years ago.”


Wheeler reckoned the US market would generate another 1,000 sales, doubling present volume.


Meanwhile Noble, based in Barwell, Leicestershire, has terminated the 10 dealers’ contracts, which it says has allowed the firm to cut its prices.


Noble spokesman Simon Hucknall said: “The dealers will continue as authorised servicing outlets, but will not sell new cars. We want tighter control of quality of sales and customer treatment.”


The company is establishing three sales centres in northern England, Leicestershire and south-east England.


Hucknall said: “Dealers take a large margin and by eliminating that cut we have reduced the price of two of our cars.”


The twin turbo three-litre V6 M400 is down £6,000 from £61,995 to £55,995 while the 3R’s price has been reduced by £2,505 to £49,995.


Noble sells around 270 cars a year. Most are bought by UK customers although its Cincinnati, Ohio distributor believes there is a potential for 70 units in the US.