SMMT welcomes government’s new initiative for industry

07 April 2008 #SMMT News

SMMT welcomes the announcement that business minister Shriti Vadera has today launched an initiative to support and develop the UK automotive industry and is delighted at the appointment of Richard Parry-Jones CBE as leader of the New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (NAIGT).

“SMMT will work closely with business minister Vadera and the Department for Business Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) officials to create a plan that builds upon the strengths of the sector and addresses the challenges facing the industry,” said SMMT chief executive, Paul Everitt. “The automotive industry is at the forefront of process improvement, delivering economies of scale and low unit costs, despite the increasing complexity of its products.”

The UK’s car industry is one of the most successful in the world, with a number of manufacturers currently enjoying record levels of production at their UK plants. As well as producing over 1.5 million cars and commercial vehicles each year, three million engines are produced in the UK. Last year was a record year for UK car production exports and also saw the strongest commercial vehicle output for a decade.

A report, ‘Business Environment for Japanese Automotive Supply Companies in the UK’ published alongside this announcement, highlights some of the key challenges facing the sector. SMMT is working with BERR and the regional development agencies to raise awareness of the key competitiveness issues, such as quality, cost, delivery performance and ability to innovate. It is important that industry and government work together to deliver the support framework and regulatory environment for global automotive companies to prosper in the UK.

SMMT is leading industry efforts with a range of initiatives like Automotive Supplier Finder which is designed to match buyers to the right suppliers. Hundreds of UK buyers and suppliers are already actively involved, including those from volume vehicle makers and tier one component manufacturers.

Skills availability at all levels are an issue for the industry and SMMT Industry Forum is working with BERR and the National Skills Academy to develop a new approach using the focus of supply chain improvement programmes to enhance leadership and management capabilities.

By developing a more strategic approach to the future of the automotive sector in the UK over the next 15 years, government, industry and others can safeguard and grow investment in this important manufacturing area.

NAIGT will examine and make recommendations to government by March 2009.

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