James Dyson delivered a bombshell to his staff and to the people of Malmesbury when he announced on Tuesday February 5th 2002 that production of his vacuum cleaner was to be transferred to Malaysia.
He explained that it was simple economic necessity, since production costs were considerably less in that country. However he emphasised that Malmesbury will still be the company's base, and research and development as well as manufacture of the contrarotator washing machine will remain, providing work for around 1000 people.
The news was greeted with dismay not just by the staff, but by the whole town, since Dyson is by far the largest employer in the area. Last year 600 jobs were lost at Lucent Technologies.