DeLorean Motor Company

DeLorean Motor Company
Industry Automotive
Founded 24 October 1975 (original company)
27 January 2016 (second company)
Headquarters

Detroit, Michigan,[ citation needed] and Dunmurry, Northern Ireland (original company)

Humble, Texas (second company)
Key people
John DeLorean, Founder & Chairman
Stephen Wynne
Products DeLorean DMC-12 cars
Website www.delorean.com

The DeLorean Motor Company (DMC) was an American automobile manufacturer originally formed by automobile industry executive John DeLorean in 1975. [1] It is remembered for the one model it produced — the distinctive stainless steel DeLorean DMC-12 sports car featuring gull-wing doors—and for its brief and turbulent history, ending in receivership and bankruptcy in 1982. Near the end, in a desperate attempt to raise the funds his company needed to survive, John DeLorean was filmed appearing to accept money to take part in drug trafficking, but was subsequently acquitted of charges brought against him on the basis of entrapment. [2]

The DeLorean DMC-12 featured memorably in the Back to the Future movie trilogy, as the model of car made into a time machine by eccentric scientist Doc Brown, although the company had ceased to exist before the first movie was made.

In 1995, Liverpool-born mechanic Stephen Wynne [3] started a separate company using the "DeLorean Motor Company" name and shortly thereafter acquired the remaining parts inventory [4] [5] and the stylized "DMC" logo trademark of DeLorean Motor Company. [6]

The current DeLorean Motor Company located in Humble near Houston, Texas is not, and has never been, associated with the original company, but supports owners of DeLorean cars. DMC Texas, as they are known, has an additional five authorized, franchised dealers in Bonita Springs, Florida; Crystal Lake, Illinois; Huntington Beach, California; Bellevue, Washington and Hem, Netherlands.

History

Beginning

John DeLorean founded the DeLorean Motor Company in Detroit, Michigan on October 24, 1975. He was already well known in the automobile industry as a capable engineer, business innovator, and youngest person to become a General Motors (GM) executive. Investment capital came primarily in the form of business loans from the Bank of America and from the formation of partnerships and private investment from select parties, including The Tonight Show host Johnny Carson and entertainers Roy Clark and Sammy Davis, Jr.. Money was also gained later through a dealer investment program in which those dealerships offering DeLorean's cars for sale were made shareholders in the company.

DeLorean also sought lucrative incentives from various government and economic organizations to pay for constructing the company's automobile manufacturing facilities. To gain these, he looked to build his first factory in a country or area where unemployment was particularly high. One candidate was Ireland, although the country's then Minister for Industry and Commerce, Desmond O'Malley, decided not to support the project. A deal in Puerto Rico was about to be agreed when DeLorean took up a last-minute offer from Northern Ireland's Industrial Development Board. Besides taking some early seed capital from Hollywood stars Sammy Davis Jr. and Johnny Carson, DeLorean Motor Company relied on the British government for about $120 million of its $200 million startup costs according to the newspaper The Times. The British government was very keen to create jobs in Northern Ireland to reduce sectarian violence by reducing unemployment. As part of this offer, DeLorean was apparently under the impression that the British government would provide his company with Export Credit financing. This would provide a loan of 80% of the wholesale cost of the vehicles (US$20,000) upon completion and delivery for shipping.

Manufacturing facility

In October 1978, construction of the six-building, 660,000 ft² (61,000 m²) manufacturing plant began in Northern Ireland and was designed and managed by Brodie and Hawthorn Architects based in Belfast and constructed in 16 months by Farrans McLaughlin & Harvey. Officially known as DMCL (DeLorean Motor Cars, Ltd.), the facility was located in Dunmurry, a suburb of Belfast. It was situated on an interface between two communities with differing political outlooks: republican Twinbrook and unionist Dunmurry.

Unit production was scheduled to begin in 1979, but engineering delays and budget overruns caused the assembly lines to start only in early 1981. Workers at the factory were generally inexperienced; many never had jobs before joining DMC. This may have contributed to the reported quality issues attributed to the early production vehicles and the subsequent establishment of Quality Assurance Centers (QAC) located at various delivery locations. QACs were set up in California, New Jersey and Michigan where some of the quality issues were to be addressed and resolved before delivery to dealerships. Some of the issues related to the fitting of body panels, higher-output alternators, and gullwing door adjustments.

The combined efforts of quality assurance improvements at the factory and the post-production quality assurance done at the QACs were generally successful, although workmanship complaints would still occasionally arise; the 1981 DeLoreans were delivered with a 12-month, 12,000 mi (19,000 km) warranty. By 1982, improvements in components and the more experienced workforce meant that production quality was vastly improved. Disputes between dealerships and customers arose later because many dealerships refused to do warranty work because they were not reimbursed.