Millbrook Proving Ground’s extensive facilities in secluded Bedfordshire are expected to be vital to its new owner, details of which will be revealed later this year.
For the utmost secrecy of any clandestine comings and goings of both engines and new vehicles can be assured at a site which is ideally screened from prying eyes.
Meanwhile, the seemingly endless and painstaking process of due diligence is currently unfolding at Millbrook as accountants and lawyers probe the minutiae of accounts, paper trails and business practices. But also under scrutiny are the site’s security processes.
For not only will the new owner need reassurance that site's security is absolutely watertight, but Millbrook’s existing customer base will also require on-going reassurances that there is no contingency for Chinese walls to exist under any new format.
One of Millbrook’s customers is Transport for London and most of its work at the Bedfordshire site is associated with London’s buses. However, Millbrook deals with other customers, the business activities of which include sensitive product planning data and the commercial world of passenger car design and development.
Such Millbrook customers will need assurances at the highest level that their activities will at the very least remain secure when the new owner takes occupancy.
This will be important as any new owner will inevitably bring its own staff who may not be familiar with the meticulous procedures and practices that have been set in place at Millbrook over the years.
Likewise the new owner will not wish to have any unwelcome ‘observance’ taking place on the part of its customers with respect to any programmes that it will introduce onto the site.
This will be particularly important in respect of any new engine and vehicle development work the new owner brings to Millbrook. One of Millbrook's major offerings lie in the extensive high-speed, off-highway and 'city and country' road network.
It is thought likely that once the changeover takes place, new work will be introduced to Millbrook as this is one of the most pressing elements behind the acquisition. It is thought likely the new owner is desperately in need of additional engineering resources and Millbrook’s contingent of staff will provide a more-than-welcome pool of engineering talent.
Many of Millbrook’s engineers are familiar with engine design, development and emissions testing for Euro 6 and beyond, as well as vehicle development. So it is conceivable that some highly secret aspects of new engine design could be brought to Millbrook for evaluation.
It is just conceivable, however, that the buyer’s growing level of activities are such that the executive assigned to running Millbrook may be charged with gradually ‘slimming down’ its automotive-related customer base over a period of time in order that the broad capabilities of the Bedfordshire site can be fully exploited by the new owner.
Whatever happens, staff at Millbrook look set to be busy over the coming months and years – and their numbers could increase markedly. ∎
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