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Newton Commercial was formed in 1979 by Richard and Vera Newton, in response to demand from classic car enthusiasts for hand crafted, original specification trim. Over the following years they set up a successful business specialising in classic cars. We now have 3 factories in Leiston covering 26,000 Sq Ft with over 50 staff making trim. We export 45% of our trim overseas and you may be surprised to hear that 80% of our business is trade sales. We sell our MG range and TR2-7 range specifically to our trade customers. The origins of the start up are now legendary in the industry as the company was formed by Richard and Vera in a very unique way.
Why the name ' Newton Commercial'
Richard was managing the Serck Services branch in Ipswich, the radiator people in the mid 70's and he was asked to repair one of his top customers lorry seats. Unable to find any local trimmer to do this basic job, he told his customer of the problem, who told Richard in no uncertain terms to find someone or he would lose the account. Richard bought some material and asked Vera to help make up a seat cover using her mothers Singer sewing machine at home. When completed, Richard sent the seat back to his customer, satisfied he had sorted the problem out. Two weeks later a further 10 seats turned up work and thus Newton Commercial was born.
For 18 months they worked like this until they quit their day jobs and went for it. They made a move to the Suffolk Coast and built a small workshop at the their new home and made the clever decision to specialise in Morris Minors. With the help of Charlie Ware in Bath they supplied aftermarket trim for the thriving Morris Minor market. This was the first step to supplying classic trim over the next 30 or so years, but originally any Lorry's, milk floats, police cars, tractors & even USAF covers for A10 fighter planes were made, hence the name Newton Commercial.
During the 80's the majority of the work was with Morris Minor, Spitfire and then Mini. Our ethos was simple and has not changed, we made each part to the original design, using original colours, grains and materials where possible. For example, we have had made original houndstooth cloth for the Spitfire and Gold Brocade vinyl for the Mini Coopers made.
During the 90's MGF and late Mini products were developed. In the early 90's we expanded our carpet production range and bought all the original Mini and Triumph tooling from Firth Furnishing before it was scrapped. This allowed us to replicate the moulded carpets and supply full trim kits to supplement panels and seating. We also moved to our main factory, a 20,000 sq ft purpose built factory.
All aspects of trimming were carried out including, foam production, (yes we made our own foam moulds and foams) high frequency welding, lay cutting, sewing and panel trimming. Our stores covers over 5,000sq ft and is filled with original rolls of materials and trim as well as a stock holding for our fast moving trim. Our out of stock production times are on average 3-4 weeks as we have over 12,000 different parts.
During 2010 we decided to manufacture our board production in-house. We brought back over 1,000 die cut tools from an outsourced supplier in the UK and set up in an adjacent 3,000sq ft unit to our main factory. We spent 2 months setting up new 50 tonne presses, spray booths, racking and cutting machinery and we now have full control of our board supply.
Today our expertise is recognised worldwide and we currently supply all major markets including Europe, Japan, USA, and Australasia. All Newton Commercial products are designed to original specification where applicable and are made using only approved materials of which 95% is made in the UK. Apart from manufacturing original specification products we can also offer complete new modern style seats, replace vinyl/cloth trim with leather products and offer other accessories as well.
BRITISH MOTOR HERITAGE (BMH) SPECIALISTS
In the mid 1980's BMH brought together the major classic car retailers and suppliers to form a group of British Motor Heritage approved specialists. To qualify for membership, Heritage specialists are put through a stringent selection process, which takes into account everything from financial stability through to customer service. As such, when you deal with a Heritage approved Company you are assured of the highest standard of product and service.
FEDERATION OF BRITISH HISTORIC VEHICLE CLUBS
We are a proud member of the Federation of British Historic Vehicle clubs.
The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs exists to ‘uphold the freedom’ for all enthusiasts to use their historic vehicles on the road and enjoy them.
The FBHVC is a member of the Federation Internationale Vehicules Anciens (FIVA) an international organisation representing over 1 million individuals worldwide. FIVA fund a professional lobbyist in Brussels to monitor legislation which may affect the historic vehicle movement in the EU.
We have recently been acknowledged for our environmental efforts with the award of the highest level of the Suffolk Carbon Charter. The Charter provides businesses with recognition for the work we are doing to reduce our energy consumption. This enables businesses with genuine green credentials to share their achievements with their customers, staff and suppliers. Following an independent audit, Newton Commercial were awarded the Gold Charter, which shows that not only are we recognising our environmental responsibility by monitoring and reducing our energy use, but we are also spreading the word
Newton Commercial has achieved their 4th Investors in People award. At the time of the award they were the longest recognised company in the automotive sector in Suffolk, and one of only three manufacturing companies in the area to have been recognised for more than nine years. On achieving the award Director Jonny Newton said: “This year we really looked into why we should continue to work towards this award. As a management group we needed to consider how the company and staff would benefit from the process. We had to be sure that it wasn’t simply another award or standard to put on the company CV. With the help of Business Link and our advisor Simon Allsop, we made sure that we achieved the standard for the right reasons, i.e. the development of our staff and business. We needed to tighten up on a few processes and looked internally at how we could improve our management and communication skills. Manufacturing in the UK is tough in the current climate and we must be one step ahead in order to achieve the competitive edge our clients require.. In the UK we have some of the World’s best engineers and workers and we must look to them to help move our businesses forward”.
June Todd and Jonny Newton with the 4th IIP award.
The IFM (Institute for Manufacturing) is the public face of the Department of Engineering at Cambridge University. We work with IFM is several ways and its two way relationship as we get invaluable research, advice and ideas, while the IFM get a real time small manufacturing firm to try out stuff and give experience to their students and staff. Essentially, we use the IFM training courses put on by the department for our senior management, which look at all aspects of improving manufacturing and our management skills. We provide the University postgraduates with research projects from 2-7 weeks in-house, where we gain invaluable management consultancy and they get real time projects to work on. We recently hosted a small group of postgraduates for 2 weeks that worked on a supply chain argument project and helped research the Mazda MX5 market that we want to take over.
Our Apprenticeship Scheme has been running for 3 years now and we have 6 full time apprentices in place.
Pictured with our local MP DR Therese Coffey is our current Apprentices in 2011.
Ps....Richard Newton started his apprenticeship aged 16 at Morris Motors at Cowley in 1962, so if we can follow in his footsteps again.....well.......