“UK can be centre of excellence for new low-carbon and high value technologies,” says Odell

28 June 2011 #SMMT News

Addressing the 2011 SMMT International Automotive Summit, Stephen Odell, Ford Group Vice President and Chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe, said that the UK could be world leaders in new and high value technologies. Odell opened his speech by highlighting the footprint of Ford in Britain, celebrating its “deeply-rooted” position in the UK in its centenary year, before presenting an overview of UK automotive. Odell mentioned the 700,000 jobs across vehicle and component supply that the industry supports, and the fact that it contributes £8.5 billion added value to the economy.

“But it’s so much more than manufacturing and sales,” said Odell. “The UK can be a centre of excellence for the new low-carbon and high value technologies that offer the most growth potential for higher cost European economies.”

Speaking about support from government, he added, “We have here the potential to build upon world-class design, engineering and manufacturing expertise, but I worry that we will not achieve that potential unless there is a greater commitment to help deliver a stronger British auto industry.

“I’m not talking here just about grants or financial assistance. Rather, I’m talking about ensuring we have the right skills base and the right pro-industry policies in place to make investing in Britain of benefit to all stakeholders concerned.”

He went on to discuss the impact of decisions taken at the European level on the UK industry. In the EU, automotive accounts for 10 per cent of all manufacturing by output, and 35% by employment. It provides direct employment for 2.3 million people, and a further 10.4 million indirect jobs.

“Whatever the outcome over the next year or so, Europe needs to remain focused on supporting its industrial base,” said Odell. “That base is vital for our continued economic well-being. If we throw away this opportunity to create a more holistic and encompassing industrial policy now, we will regret it for generations to come.”

Click through to download the full transcript of Stephen Odell’s keynote address at the 2011 SMMT International Automotive Summit.

Click through for more information, news and photos from the 2011 International Automotive Summit.

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