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UK Automotive unites at Automechanika Birmingham to target more British parts for British cars

09 March 2017 #Event News #SMMT News
  • SMMT’s Meet the Buyer event returns to Automechanika Birmingham as industry and government join to support inward investment.
  • Alexander Dennis, Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Dennis Eagle, Ford, Honda, Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan among the vehicle manufacturers on the lookout for new supply partners.
  • UK’s biggest aftermarket and supply chain expo worth an estimated £595 million to the market in 2016.1

SMMT will bring the UK automotive industry together at a special event in Birmingham this summer as part of efforts to boost supply chain reshoring and make British cars more British. 

UK vehicle manufacturing output has continued to grow over recent years, driven by record export demand, which has led to further growth and opportunities for supply chain companies. Meanwhile, the resurgent new car market has helped boost the UK’s important aftermarket sector – now the fourth biggest in Europe.2

To help British companies exploit this growth, SMMT’s Meet the Buyer event will return to Automechanika Birmingham this June for a second year. The event, run in partnership with the Department for International Trade’s Automotive Investment Organisation, encourages inward investment by bringing together purchasers from vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers and matching them with component makers of all sizes in hundreds of one-to-one meetings.

Now in its second year, Automechanika Birmingham is the UK’s largest aftermarket and supply chain exhibition. In 2016, it welcomed buyers from every UK-based vehicle manufacturer, as well as motor factors and independent workshops.

In 2017, the show will be 70% bigger, hosting more than 750 exhibitors with 250 companies making their debut.3 A survey of visitors’ spend at, or as a result of visiting last year revealed the value of the event to the market to be an estimated £595 million, making it the ideal platform for Meet the Buyer. New for 2017 is a dedicated Supply Chain Zone, as well as specific seminars for engineers and buyers across all tiers of the supply chain.

Kieran Gray, Nissan Europe Purchasing Manager, said,

We’ve been involved with Meet the Buyer since 2011 and it’s more important than ever for us in 2017. We are about to embark on a significant sourcing activity with a focus on purchasing parts and components made in Britain for our UK operations and with potential for export. We use the event as a forum to introduce our existing Tier 1 suppliers to new Tier 2 and Tier 3 suppliers and have had great success in the past. Our suppliers have awarded significant contracts as a direct result of Meet the Buyer, which benefitted their business as well as ours and it’s an unrivalled event to keep abreast of what’s new in the industry and who the latest companies are.

Cat Stables, Sales and Marketing Manager for polyurethane product manufacturer Urofoam, said,

Our network within the automotive sector is quite limited and it’s a market we are keen to do more business in. So Meet the Buyer provided us with the connections to do that. We met with five buyers from high profile brands and as a result we have proved our capabilities in R&D and short production runs with a luxury car manufacturer.

Mark Toghill, Sales Manager for lighting system manufacturer Aspoeck UK Ltd, added,

It’s often difficult to speak directly with purchasing decision makers and Meet the Buyer opened doors for us – it’s an excellent event to build your network. We had four meetings and from one of those we’ve gone on to quote for lighting systems and camera equipment for a major manufacturer – so it’s actually won us new business – and we are keen to return in 2017.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

UK Automotive has just enjoyed a record year for car exports, with demand for UK-made cars growing 10.3% in 2016. This demonstrates Britain’s strengths as one of the best places to make vehicles and components – and new opportunities exist to grow the industry further by re-shoring manufacturing to the UK, and taking our thriving aftermarket to emerging markets. Rarely has there been a more important time for suppliers to come together under one roof and explore how to grasp these opportunities, and Meet the Buyer provides that platform.

Lawrence Davies MBE, CEO of Automotive Investment Organisation, Department for International Trade, said,

The Department for International Trade has worked closely with SMMT to ensure Meet the Buyer has consistently delivered success for major manufacturers and suppliers. This is the UK’s biggest automotive trade event where the very best of the UK’s automotive industry and international companies meet. With demand growing for UK-made cars and six billion pounds worth of investment opportunities in the automotive supply chain, this event is a significant opportunity for any company. Make the most of it.

Some 1,000 companies applied to take part in Meet the Buyer in 2016, where more than 360 individual meetings took place. The following brands are already confirmed for the event in 2017: Aisin Europe, Alexander Dennis, Aston Martin Lagonda, Bentley, BMW, Dennis Eagle, Faurecia, Ford, General Motors, GLM, Honda, Hitachi Automotive Systems, Jaguar Land Rover, Lear Corporation (UK) Ltd, Magna, Nissan Technical Centre Europe, Nobel Automotive and Sears Manufacturing.

Companies can register their interest for Meet the Buyer here before 20 April 2017.  In advance of the show, SMMT is hosting a webinar to help participants make the most of their day. This will take place from 10:00-11:00 on 31 May 2017. Find out more information and register here.

  1. Online Automechanika Birmingham 2016 visitor survey by Explori
  2. The Importance of the UK Aftermarket to the UK Economy, 2016, a report from SMMT and Frost & Sullivan
  3. Automechanika Birmingham

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