Friday, October 20, 2017

News: McLaren powering growth in UK's specialist car manufacturing sector

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The decision by British supercar manufacturer, McLaren, to build a 75,000 sq ft facility on the Advanced Manufacturing Park (AMP) in Rotherham has received further vindication in a new report that shows that the sector is set to be boosted by increasing global demand.

New analysis published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) confirms that Britain is home to the largest and most diverse specialist car manufacturing sector in the world, with some of the most globally recognised and iconic brands.

The UK Specialist Car Manufacturers Report 2017 includes the latest figures that show that in 2016 these car makers turned over a collective £3.6 billion, up 52% from 2012. In addition, they employed 11,250 people – an 11.5% increase on five years ago – the majority in highly skilled, specialist roles, while also supporting tens of thousands additional jobs across the supply chain.

Thanks to an increasing number of affluent buyers and new markets taking an increasing interest in performance driving and luxury models, production is on an upward trend. Output has risen by a quarter (25%) since 2012 and, by 2020, it is forecast to surge 60%, from the current 32,000 units to some 52,000.

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The sector is an important contributor to the UK economy, with 65% of the vehicles it produces exported to markets worldwide, including the EU, US, China, Japan and the Gulf States. Meanwhile, it supports an equally diverse UK supply chain, sourcing, on average, two thirds (65%) of vehicle content from local tier one companies and a further 30% from across the wider EU.

The report also raises issues and uncertainties for UK carmakers caused by the Brexit vote.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: "Our specialist car manufacturing sector is one of the UK's global success stories – making world-leading products and pioneering next generation technologies that benefit everyone. For this to continue we need certainty on Britain's future trading relationships, including customs plans, market access, regulations governing the design, production and approval of vehicles, and rules around movement of skilled workers. This will provide the assurance the sector needs to remain competitive and make investment decisions that enable it to continue to develop innovative, exciting and desirable products that are the envy of the world."

The sector's current growth forecast is based on increasing demand from consumers in key global markets, but also previously announced investment in new facilities from the likes of Aston Martin and McLaren.

Construction is underway on the new 75,000 sq ft facility for McLaren on the AMP. The £50m McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) will enable the development and manufacture of the Monocell and Monocage carbon fibre chassis used in future McLaren models.

The centre is set to create more than 200 jobs and will comprise approximately 150 production staff and 50 manufacturing support staff.

Following a period of research and development alongside the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the centre is expected to be running at full production from 2020. Reshoring production from overseas, McLaren is targeting cost savings of around £10m annually compared to today and the chassis supply will increase average percentage (by value) of a McLaren car sourced in the UK by around 8%, from its current average of around 50%.

McLaren Automotive posted sales of £649.8m for the year ending December 2016, up 44% on the previous year. Profit was up a massive 179% to £65.8m. The Woking-based company completed its 10,000th sports car last December, only five years after the first rolled out of its hi-tech production centre. It now has an objective of producing more than 4,500 vehicles annually by the end of 2022.

McLaren Automotive and the McLaren Technology Group are being brought together under one corporate structure to be called the McLaren Group. The Group is valued at £2.4 billion and now employs more than 3,400 people.

McLaren website
SMMT website

Images: McLaren

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