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Firms get helping hand to share in multi-billion automotive investment opportunities

Firms get helping hand to share in multi-billion automotive investment opportunities

🕔26.Jun 2015

Companies looking to join the West Midlands’ thriving automotive sector are being offered special assistance.

A new initiative – Drive West Midlands – run by inward investment agency Marketing Birmingham and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), with support from local partners will support firms throughout the supply chain and overseas investors looking to locate in the region.

The programme aims to help fill the estimated £4 billion sourcing gap in Britain’s automotive industry – and create new highly skilled jobs.

Just a third of components for UK vehicles are made in the country and with national vehicle production expected to increase from 1.5 million in 2014 to over 2 million by 2018, there is huge potential for companies in local supply chains.

Drive West Midlands will help suppliers capitalise on the growth of this sector by coordinating activity such as:

  • Introducing smaller firms to potential new customers through ‘meet the buyer’ events and trade delegations;
  • Creating Best Practice Clubs, helping companies to share ideas and encouraging mutual assistance;
  • Hosting Business Development Workshops on topics such as exports, quality standards, access to finance, and recruitment; and
  • Promoting the West Midlands as a destination for international automotive firms at regional and national events.

Neil Rami, Chief Executive at Marketing Birmingham, said:

The success of our automotive sector relies on nurturing its supply chain. Global manufacturers still need networks of suppliers based just minutes away from their plants.

With 90 per cent of the region’s automotive companies having fewer than 100 employees, supporting the development of these smaller firms is crucial to growing the wider industry across the West Midlands.

There are more than 1,100 specialist automotive companies in the West Midlands, employing some 40,000 people and working for major brands including Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Toyota and BMW. Of the world’s top 100 suppliers, 50 have a presence in the region.

Drive West Midlands was launched during Marketing Birmingham’s latest commercial partners’ meeting, which was attended by 100 senior business leaders from across the city. Neil Rami was joined by keynote speaker Michael Boyd, Managing Director of UKTI.

Mr Boyd said:

The UK’s automotive industry is doing an extraordinary job. But with UK vehicle production expected to soar to record levels, it is vital for the West Midlands – and indeed the whole of the UK’s supply chain, together with local and regional bodies plus UK government – to take full advantage of this incredible opportunity, drive a step change in the quality and quantity of investment into the automotive sector and deliver the high quality jobs that will come from it

When added to our outstanding universities, and cutting edge research and design facilities, this creates a world-class automotive cluster in our region and is a superb base upon which Drive West Midlands can build.

The automotive sector is a significant contributor to the national economy. Around 1.5 million cars and commercial vehicles, along with 2.5 million engines, are produced annually in the UK.

The industry exported £34 billion of products in 2013, some 11 per cent of the UK’s total exports. Automotive secured 117 foreign direct investment projects last year, which created or safeguarded nearly 17,000 jobs across the country.

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