New government fund breaks barrier to auto supplier growth

smmt A new £24 million government fund is set to give UK-based automotive suppliers a welcome boost as they look to grow their businesses.Announced today by Business Minister Michael Fallon at SMMT’s Meet the Buyer event at ExCeL London, the Tooling Funding Programme will help component manufacturers design, develop and manufacture new tooling where they would otherwise fail to acquire funds.

Business Minister Michael Fallon said, “Government and industry are working together to boost UK supply chain competitiveness and growth. Our automotive industrial strategy sets out how we will secure the long-term future of the sector – by growing the UK share of the value chain, and by getting ahead of the game in research and development for the vehicles of tomorrow.

“This fund is a practical example of how we are working in partnership with industry to break down barriers to growth. Manufacturing is driving the UK’s recovery and our vibrant automotive sector is leading the way.”

UK automotive manufacturing is enjoying a renaissance, with car output set to reach all-time record volumes by 2017. Developing a more competitive domestic supply chain to keep pace with this growth is one of the major challenges facing the sector, however, as UK-built cars currently only feature around 35% UK-sourced components.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “A competitive supply chain is a vital ingredient in a successful automotive industry. Yet many UK suppliers have found it difficult to access funding, restricting their ability to exploit the local opportunities created by the expanding vehicle manufacturing sector. The new Tooling Funding Programme is a welcome initiative which should help UK component manufacturers compete and win new business.”

Meet the Buyer, run jointly by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and UK Trade and Investment’s Automotive Investment Organisation (AIO), matches UK supply chain companies to vehicle manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers with particular sourcing requirements. Some of the world’s biggest vehicle producers attended the event, including Aston Martin, General Motors and Leyland Trucks.

The AIO, created in June 2013 to spearhead inward investment to the UK’s automotive sector from overseas, recently revealed it has already drummed up £457 million worth of business for UK companies. Led by former Ford Chairman Joe Greenwell, the Organisation has obtained funding for 80 projects and secured 5,600 supply chain jobs.

Joe Greenwell, AIO Chief Executive, said, “The UK’s automotive industry is thriving and I am pleased that the AIO has helped to secure over 5,000 UK jobs and over £450 million of investment in its first year.

“Our car manufacturing abilities have global appeal with 80% of our total output exported last year. The challenge is to increase the size of the UK-based supply chain, which could bring in an extra £3 billion a year to British firms. Meet the Buyer events are a very important way of bringing together potential overseas investors and the purchasing leaders of our UK automotive industry”.

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