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Tom loses his Swedish factory

TOM WALKINSHAW's plans to build Renault Sport versions of the Renault Clio at Uddevalla, in Sweden, are unlikely to go ahead following the announcement that Walkinshaw's AutoNova AB joint venture with Volvo has been terminated. Volvo has bought 26% of the company from Walkinshaw for an undisclosed sum and now has a controlling 75% in the company. The remaining 25% of AutoNova AB will be purchased from Walkinshaw in 2003. Reports suggest that TWR will no longer have any representation on the board of directors of AutoNova but production of Volvo C70 models at the plant will start again this week.

Volvo will have paid Walkinshaw a considerable sum of money for the shares - probably around $15m - and will also have had to settle the $35m loss made by AutoNova in 1998. But the money that Tom receives is unlikely to be enough to enable him to build a new facility to produce Renaults and so he will not be able to organize a Formula 1 engine supply deal on the back of an industrial venture as he had hoped to do. Even if he does have enough money to build a factory it will be several years before such a facility will be ready.

Walkinshaw continues to talk up Arrows hopes for this season, commenting last week that he expects the team to score points and podium finishes before too long.

The Arrows team has competed in 339 races without winning a single one.

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