Minister for industry visits SMMT components members

06 January 2004 #SMMT News

Jacqui Smith MP, minister for industry, yesterday (Monday 5 January) visited SMMT members to help gain a better understanding of the industry’s needs and to view the success of the UK’s automotive components industry.

The minister visited Cirrus Technologies, Haldex Brake Products (both Redditch) TRW Conekt (Solihull), Remploy Automotive (Birmingham) and Automotive Products Driveline Technology (Leamington Spa). She also met with members from Zytek, Edscha and Hella Manufacturing who joined the discussions.

Ms Smith was given a full briefing on the status and needs of the industry, before discussing the future of the components sector with AP Driveline Managing Director Andy Richardson – chairman of the SMMT Automotive Components Section – and Chris Holland from Hella Manufacturing.

The tour was organised by the SMMT as a follow up to the publication last year of Strengthening the Supply Chain report. The report examines the role of the UK companies that manufacture parts for the motor industry and their increasing success in a tough world-wide market. It underlines a number of key areas where these companies need ongoing government support to continue and increase their success against global competition.

Mr Richardson told the minister, ‘Our industry is thriving but it needs help in some specific areas to maintain and build success in what is a tough market place. That’s where we hope to enlist the help of yourself and your colleagues in government.’

According to the minister, the trip was enlightening and she was impressed by the diversity of products and the breadth of companies in the sector. The key points that were raised by every company she visited, was the pressure on costs and the necessity to recruit skilled staff and also developing new skills for current staff where needed. Ms Smith said, ‘It is evident that companies in a multi-national group need to be able to demonstrate the advantages of manufacturing in the UK.’


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