GM's Millbrook up for sale
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• General Motors is looking for a buyer for Bedford's Millbrook test track and its Luton design and engineering centre.
Since production of civilian Bedford commercial vehicles ended last December, as part of GM's withdrawal from truck and bus building, the future of Millbrook and the Luton engineering centre have been in doubt. Luton has 600 employees, mainly engineers, with a further 240 at Millbrook. It is dear that they could not be profitably occupied only on projects for GM in the USA and limited outside work.
The company will not disclose the names of any potential buyers, nor the asking price, but a spokesman says that its "target date" for receiving formalised bids is the end of this month.
It has been reported that Volvo Truck Corporation is one of the potential buyers, but a Volvo spokesman in Gothenburg denies that his company has any interest in the Bedford sites. Volvo's own 700ha Hallered test track, some 80km east of Gothenburg, is fairly modern (it was built in 1974) and new tracks have recently been built there.
Nevertheless the 280ha Millbrook track, complete with component durability and exhaust emissions testing laboratories, is one of the best equipped in Europe — GM has spent about 215 million on it over the past four years. The engineering and design centre at Luton is comprehensively equipped for the design and development of all classes of vehicle.