The UK car industry is on a global offensive to rebuild its diminished supply chain behind its auto business, targeting 15,000 new jobs and almost 200 fresh projects over the next three years.
Trying to design a boom in “Made in Britain”, the government has even appointed an automotive ambassador – which tours the international car manufacturers, rising support to continue the wave of investment that topped £6 billion over the past two years.
Local production rose 8% in 2012, against an 8% decline in Germany, and a 12% fall in France. At the current level of growth, the UK will produce 2 million cars a year by 2017, twice what was built in 2009. But the foundations are a bit shaky – as only about 30% of the parts in a typical UK-built car are sourced from internal suppliers. In Germany, it is twice that amount.
“The goal is to maintain and extend this [investment] momentum,” said Joe Greenwell, a former Ford executive now chief executive of the Automotive Investment Organization. “I want to remove reasons why people may not want to come here.”
Closing that gap is stage two of the UK’s automotive renaissance, with a focus on the supply chain, where the number of jobs dwarfs that of those working in car assembly plants. And a recent study found UK-based car manufacturers were keen to source about £3bn extra worth of parts from British suppliers, a 10 per cent increase on current levels.
“We need to recapture and repatriate business that we lost in the past few decades, business that went elsewhere to places like western and eastern Europe and Asia. We want to get it back,” said Mr Greenwell.
Still, attracting the overseas investors will not be easy. Automotive suppliers in Britain have suffered through a lack of financial support that rivals in countries like Germany enjoy, and an acute skills shortage is cited by many as a growth constraint.
Via Financial Times
) - Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 - filed under Industry
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