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by David Zalstein

Aspiring Australian manufacturer Joss has secured funding to build its locally made supercars with the company set to list publicly from early next year.

Speaking to CarAdvice today, Joss founder Matt Thomas said the 17-year old privately-owned company will list publicly in 2015 after securing backing from the Hatzimihail Group – a family-run business heavily invested in lighting technology.

“We have signed a partnership with the Hatzimihail Group, which is gigantic for us,” Thomas said.

“That’s going to be bigger than Ben-Hur for us.

Joss - 2

“So people are saying we’ve got $35 million dollars, no [we don’t], we’re going to a public listing very early next year… to raise the bigger money.

“There’s a lot of expense in going to a listing, which is what part of the whole agreement is with the Hatzimihail Group.”

Making the transition to a publicly-owned entity will not only allow Joss the potential to raise capital from wider markets and expand its existing business, the move will also see Thomas head up engineering and design with Hatzimihail Group’s Alex Hatzimihail fronting the business as CEO.

“It’s a totally different game for us now with the Hatzimihail Group. We’re literally just into a full investment,” Thomas said.

“So as compared to the [Kickstarter project] we’re really getting into [being] a fully funded supercar company.”

Pushing back the timeframe of its mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive V8-powered JP1 supercar from late-2015 to early 2016, Thomas said the track version will be followed by the production car “probably around a year after that”.

JOSS prototype under development

“There’s a further development period… so it’s a very tight schedule and a lot of work to be done. But we really want to get this initial car out and really show people what we’re all about and show the level that we want to be at.”

Tipped to feature some degree of Le Mans/Formula One-style hybrid technology, Thomas was coy on powertrain specifics saying: “That’s something we’d like to comment on a little later”.

“There’s a lot of discussion around that point. Watch this space… [but] when people see our engine partners they’re going to really realise how serious we are about this. This is the big stuff and this type of thing’s never happened in Australia before so we’re pretty proud about that.”

Thomas said locking down an international motor show debut was still “a point of further discussion”, however, going forward “we’ll work out our timing to see which show it aligns with”.

“It’s very much an international car that’s made here in Australia,” he said.

“So the priority for us is get the funding, get everyone into our facilities, get it happening and get this car developed.”

With design and engineering based in Melbourne, manufacturing planned to take place in Brisbane and gearboxes sourced from Ballarat, Thomas says Joss is “all about inspiring Australia” with “quite a lot” of testing also planned for the Northern Territory.

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“People go long distances to test the cars in that sort of extreme environment and we’re able to do it in our own country which is fantastic.

“We [also] very much appreciate the current automotive situation here in Australia and we feel we need to do something about what’s been let slide too much and this is about reinvigorating it and injecting it with some new blood.”

Thomas confirmed that workers left out in the cold following the upcoming manufacturing wrap up of Ford, Holden and Toyota could also see possible futures at Joss.

“For sure,” Thomas said.

“There’s always that potential and probably several of our team would be from those companies in the end, but it’s obviously quite a distilled group at first and then we’d very much look at expanding and trying to get into larger production as we go forward as well.”

Targeting figures of 420kW and 560Nm and weighing circa-900kg, the track-going Joss JP1 is aiming to hit 100km/h in 2.8 seconds and reach a top speed of 340km/h – not bad for an estimated $600,000 price tag.

Images courtesy of Joss.