A new initiative launched by Marketing Birmingham and the UKTI is aiming to attract further investment in the West Midlands automotive industry.
Over 1,000 automotive firms in the region employ around 40,000 people making it one of the key drivers of economic activity in the West Midlands automotive sector.
Drive West Midlands launched today (25 June) looks to support companies throughout the supply chain and overseas investors looking to locate in the region.
It will build on work by UKTI’s Automotive Investment Organisation (AIO) – which aims to promote the UK and West Midland automotive sector abroad and attract new investment – and involves the West Midlands Investment Forum, which comprises inward investment leads from the six LEPs in the region.
Neil Rami, chief executive of 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% 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.”
The programme aims to help fill the estimated £4bn sourcing gap in Britain’s automotive industry – and bring new highly skilled jobs to the region.
How will West Midlands Automotive Sector benefit?
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.
Just a third (30-35%) of components for UK vehicles are made in the country. 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.
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