This week, Steve gushes about a new bespoke coupe, hears from a friend in Japan about Toyota's vaccine efforts and reflects on the significance of Nissan's investment in its Sunderland plant.
One of the delights of recent times has been writing about the new Wells Vertige sports car, which has popped up fully formed without any of us having seen it grow. A beautiful, diminutive, bespoke coupé, it’s the work of two Robins: entrepreneur and designer Robin Wells and engineer Robin Hall. It shows every sign of being an affordable, capable and viable little car, and we will know for sure in a few weeks’ time.
What’s remarkable isn’t the simple fact of the Vertige’s existence; a few others in this country of creators have the skills to do similar. The wonder is that Wells and Hall have had the steadiness, energy, determination and self-belief to complete their five-year project without fanfare, trusting that their achievement will win recognition in the end. What courage, and what class.
My friend Kaoru Kojima, who gamely translates this column for Japanese readers, writes to tell me how Toyota’s experts are helping to apply the company’s legendary production methods to the Covid-19 vaccination of people in medical centres – a move that has improved throughput by 50%. Toyota has deployed production specialists, known locally as ‘kaizen corps’, to spot bottlenecks and suggest ways of eliminating them. ‘Kaizen’, as you might know, is Japanese for ‘improvement’, and the system has worked brilliantly. The corps has so far come up with at least 10 refi nements, slashing treatment times and reassuring an awful lot of people.