Efforts are underway in England to resurrect a long-dead automotive brand, Morris, to sell electric delivery vans.
The last vehicle to wear the Morris badge rolled off the British Leyland assembly lines in 1984. That ended a run that William Morris started in 1919. The brand, which controlled 42 percent of the British new-car market in 1926, is best known in North America for the classic Morris Minor, a cheap and cheerful people's car in the vein of the Volkswagen Beetle. It racked up 1.6 million sales globally and remained in production until 1971.
Last week, Morris Commercial, a Chinese-funded startup in the United Kingdom, announced a modern version of the Morris J-Type small delivery van. It will feature styling cues of the original, which was produced from 1948 to 1961, and have a lithium ion battery pack powering an electric motor, the company said.
There's no word yet on where the vehicle will be built. Qu Li, a former director at MG Rover, which went bankrupt in 2005, is Morris Commercial's founder and CEO. She says a fully engineered prototype has been built and will be introduced this fall.
Morris' old plant in Oxford, where many of the brand's biggest hits were made, isn't an option. It's now owned by BMW and used to assemble Mini Coopers.