History of the Company
July 1961. Another charming day in the fantastic Kentish countryside of the UK. Leonard Thomas was holding the final meeting with a number of experts who were finalising the last details in order to finally set up the company that his friends and himself had dreamt of forming for a entire year prior to this date. It finally came true: Evgenis Automobiles
The company started up as a joint effort between numerous ex-employees of other British marques, including Jaguar, Rover, Ford UK and more who had joined together in an attempt to create a British brand that would stay true to the qualities and values of the British automotive industry, while offering an excellent blend of affordability and the best in British luxury. Leonard Thomas was appointed CEO of the company prior to the company being created in an agreement between the co-owners of the company, including Lawrence Schwartz (ex-Jaguar), David Jones (ex-Rover), Phillip Robinson (ex-Ford), and Leonard Thomas himself (also ex-Jaguar).
Although the company was formed in 1961, it wasn’t until 1964 when their first product hit the market - the fabled, first-generation Evgenis Valkyrie, which went on to launch the company into almost immediate success thanks to great innovation and levels of engineering and quality not seen in cars of this segment, creating a stir within the industry and leading to Evgenis being regarded as pioneers of the British motoring industry. Over the course of the remainder of the 60s, Evgenis launched a number of new, more luxurious and more expensive vehicles to really attract the upmarket buyer, including the Basilisk, Pegasus, Typhon and Falcon.
With the arrival of the 1970s, the British car industry started to appear to be taking a slight downwards turn. The arrival of very competitive foreign offerings from across Europe and the Japanese markets made increased competition in an already failing market. Evgenis was quick to adapt to these changing times, and although the company was still being referred to as being amongst the very best in quality, desirability and engineering, the models being offered were quickly becoming dated and the newer offerings from overseas were hurting sales. The early 70s saw the arrival of a new-generation Valkyrie, as well as significant updates to the existing lineup of luxurious models that brought the necessary changes to keep Evgenis from going under. Of course, things couldn’t stop there though.
Heading into the latter half of the 70s, Evgenis unveiled their bold move to add a utilitarian but upmarket off-roader to the offerings, boasting its excellent capabilities and extreme ruggedness. This was, of course, a clear indication that Evgenis wanted a slice of the pie that the Range Rover was enjoying, which turned out to be a good move as other manufacturers quickly joined the trend. The late-70s also saw the arrival of new-generation models and the arrival of the Valkyrie hatchback due to increasing demand for this body style. Despite the difficulties of the times, Evgenis remained strong.
The 80s were a slightly more difficult time for Evgenis. It was becoming apparent that the company was possibly sticking to true to its guns and hadn’t really innovated the lineup in quite some years, simply modernising and bring out new-generation of existing models. Before long, Evgenis was starting to lose some of the reputation it had built up for being innovative and brilliantly engineered since other car manufacturers were offering what Evgenis could, sometimes better and sometimes for less. Little changed with the arrival of the first-generation commercial vehicle, named the “Manticore” in 1982, as fewer businesses were interested in paying a premium for something to haul cargo around, although sales were still reasonable.
Although Evgenis stuck to the existing lineup of vehicles throughout the decade, by the mid-80s Evgenis launched a very strong campaign to get the company back on the right track by launching brand-new generation models that were more revolutionary than evolutionary. Evgenis wanted to be up there with the premium German brands that were becoming ever more popular, including Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. The attempt was incredibly successful, renewing the dwindling desirability that the company was starting to lose and putting Evgenis back on the map.
Evgenis didn’t stop here though, the late-80s was a very intense time for future vehicles being added to the brand, and for the first time in over two decades, two brand-new passenger vehicles were planned to be added to the lineup for the turn of the decade. As the 90s arrived, Evgenis announced the arrival of the Nemean (launched 1990), which became the smallest and most affordable car in the lineup, as well as the Geryon (launched 1991), adding another vehicle to the off-roader lineup but as a super-luxurious offering that made even the Range Rover feel cheap. The Roc, the existing off-roader, had got a name for itself for being virtually indestructible and hugely dependable, so over the years prior to the launch of the Geryon the Roc shifted more towards this than being a premium offering.
The 90s also saw the long-standing CEO of Evgenis Leonard Thomas, retire and step down from his position which was passed on to the executive vice at the time Michael Shields. He remained CEO of the company up until the year 2010 when he too retired.
The 90s didn’t end there for Evgenis. In fact, Evgenis experienced many years of fast growth even though the British car industry in general had almost come to a complete halt due to the failings of long-standing brands that either disappeared or got purchased by other companies. New-generation models were frequent, and the latter half of the decade saw the arrival of the Sphinx (launched 1996) and Orthros (launched 1998) people carriers (MPVs), as well as the experimental Chimera city car (launched 1997). Although the majority of the models offered by Evgenis went from strength to strength, the experimental premium people carriers and city car didn’t sell as well as the other models in the lineup, with all three models being removed in the mid-00s.
Continued economic growth and a brand that was considered one of the go-tos across the globe, Evgenis entered the 00s with high hopes and, although the more experimental models were axed, the existing lineup saw new generations and variants to expand to an ever-growing market. 2003 saw the arrival of the Cerberus, an upmarket pseudo-offroader that targeted the likes of the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz ML that had more of a focus on being comfortable road cars than outright offroad performance (the rise of crossovers aaaah!)
With the arrival of the economic crash in 2007/08, Evgenis did see a significant slowdown and some more extravagant variants of existing models were removed in order to simplify the lineup. The company had already started to restructure the brand with plans to introduce a number of SUVs were in development as there appeared to be an ever-increasing demand for them, which was considered a bold move later on when the economic crash occurred. The first arrived in 2007, the second in 2008, both of which took the names of the axed MPVs from the 90s (Sphinx and Orthros), rivalling the likes of the BMW X3 and Audi Q5 as well as smaller premium crossovers that these brands didn’t launch until some years later. These had a great deal more success and remain a part of the lineup to this day.
In 2010, Michael Shields stood down as CEO of the company and a vote was held. The result meant that the first female CEO was appointed: Sharon Karen Ramsbottom.
Throughout the 2010s, Evgenis continued to build itself and consolidate the reputation it had gathered over the decades. New-generation models brought back the innovation to Evgenis, as the company was often offering “world firsts” with technology and engineering, allowing the brand to become a favourite for almost everybody. The rise of crossovers meant that the company added the smaller Griffin crossover in 2015, which had immediate commercial success. Also, due to increased pressure to meet emissions targets, Evgenis began putting a strong focus on introducing electrification. In the present day and for the future, Evgenis is looking to expand massively in EV technology in the hopes to be fully-electrified to some extent by 2024 (not including mild-hybrids, target to be reached during 2021), and purely EV by 2030.