How 3,200 jobs have been created or safeguarded in the UK automotive industry

The UK’s automotive supply chain has benefitted from a £54 million boost to its competitiveness, thanks to a government and industry-funded Long Term Automotive Supply Chain Competitiveness (LTASC) programme.

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According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the trade association for the UK motor industry that managed the funding project, the £13 million programme has stimulated an additional £41 million from private investment into the country’s vehicle manufacturing supply base.

Since 2014, the programme has helped 27 England-based suppliers to compete globally which has resulted in the creation or safeguarding of 3,200 jobs and underpinned vehicle assembly at several leading automotive brands. This investment has also enabled suppliers to improve their manufacturing processes and R&D capabilities and skills, leading to growth in turnover, diversification into new markets, plus an approved supplier status. 

Business Secretary, Greg Clark, told the SMMT: “The UK’s automotive industry is one of our biggest success stories that continues to attract significant investment from leading manufacturers. The Long Term Automotive Supply Chain Competitiveness programme has proven the value of our support and investment in the sector and helped power us towards our goal of increasing UK content in domestically produced vehicles to 50% by 2022.

“Through our Industrial Strategy and Automotive Sector Deal, we are building on this success and continuing our partnership with the industry to make UK suppliers even more competitive in the global market to ensure the industry continues to go from strength to strength.”

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, added: “Supporting employment and investment into the supply chain is critical to the future health of automotive manufacturing in the UK. The LTASC programme shows how a relatively modest initial government investment can leverage considerable industry backing, delivering huge long-term benefits.

“It’s a fantastic example of collaboration between public and private sectors creating and safeguarding thousands of jobs in this globally competitive industry. With the new NMCL fund, announced as part of the Automotive Sector Deal, we expect to see an acceleration of the competitiveness, confidence and capability of automotive suppliers in the UK.”

This is promising for the automotive industry, which is heading towards a new, digital future, as Martin Tidbury, automotive controls and automation recruitment specialist at Matchtech, explains:

“We’re in the midst of a significant transformation regarding the way the automotive sector produces cars, thanks to the digitisation of manufacturing and increased use of robotics.

“Industry 4.0, commonly known as the fourth industrial revolution, offers the opportunity for manufacturers to optimise their operations quickly and efficiently by knowing what needs attention. Meanwhile, the use of robotics and cobots can significantly decrease cycle times.”

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