first_imgTycoon Alex Hatzimihail has given Australia’s automotive industry a much needed boost with an investment that ensures cars will continue to be built on Australian shores beyond 2017.With announcements over the past 18 months that locally built Ford, Holden and Toyota vehicles will cease production by 2017, the venture into JOSS supercar has kept the local flame burning, with its sole model, the JP1, due for release that same year.Founded by Melburnian Matthew Thomas, JOSS was bound for overseas investment before 39-year-old Hatzimihail made it one of his many multi-million dollar assets, he told Neos Kosmos.“Matthew raised a million bucks to make his first race car and then he tried to raise another half a million dollars, but he didn’t succeed and in the past four years I wanted to open my own automobile company. One of my investigators called me a few months ago and said ‘Alex, there’s a company in Melbourne called JOSS supercar’. So I contacted Matthew immediately and he said he had an overseas buyer for $35 million. Walk in, walk out.”But Hatzimihail pledged the $35 million and took a 60 per cent stake in the company, leaving 40 per cent to Thomas along with the design responsibilities.“We can’t let the last automobile manufacturer in Australia leave. And over a week I convinced him, I’m a person who makes offers people can’t refuse.”The supercar will be designed in Melbourne, manufactured in Brisbane, with its interior design and seating produced in Hatzimihail’s native Alice Springs. With his eyes on the international market, he says his car will “do zero to 100 in 2.6 seconds”, be built completely from carbon fibre, weighing 950 kilograms, and powered by a V8 twin-turbo 5.5 litre engine purchased “from one of the biggest automobile companies in Germany”, to be disclosed next month.Despite the rising cost of manufacturing which has led most Australian and international companies away from local production lines, he says this type of investment pays for itself. “Manufacturing is very expensive if it was just a normal vehicle, but because it is a luxury vehicle and because most of our clientele comes from overseas, when it comes to luxury vehicles it doesn’t matter what the labour cost is because we’re only building 30 to 50 vehicles a year.”His company, the Hatzimihail Group, has stakes in a number of technological portfolios, including EFL Tech, American based Oryon Technologies, as well as companies in the Netherlands, Sweden and the United Kingdom.His parents herald from Kos and he says he is actively training his three children George (8), Eva (5), and Sophia (3) to follow in the family entrepreneurial tradition. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagramlast_img

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