Mini owners have helped a West Sussex firm make a handsome profit by souping up their cars with tuning kits, sports seats and alloy wheels.

A year after its launch, John Cooper Works, in East Preston, has dispatched its 5,000th performance kit, netting the company about £12 million.

The family firm, now run by John Cooper's son Mike, has sold more than 4,000 to overseas customers since April 2003, with the rest sold in the UK.

Earlier this year, John Cooper Garages sold its Honda dealership in Ferring to concentrate its resources on JCW.

JCW, in North Lane, sells about 150 new Mini Coopers and 100 secondhand cars every year.

Thursday April 08, 2004