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Parry-Jones to review how UK automotive industry can compete with low cost rivals

Former Ford chief technical officer Richard Parry-Jones is leading an investigation into how the UK automotive industry can remain competitive against China, India, eastern Europe and other low-cost producers.

Announcing the investigation, business minister Baroness Shriti Vadera said: “We need to ensure our car industry can build on its existing strengths.

“A strong local supply chain is essential if we are to retain and increase vehicle manufacturers’ investment in the UK.”

Ways to help the industry tackle the challenge of lower carbon emissions is also part of the brief for Parry-Jones, who retired from Ford in December.

He will work with a group of industry experts and academics to be announced later.

The investigation was prompted by the Department for Business Enterprise & Regulatory Reform (BERR). It will make recommendations to the Government next March.

A BERR spokeswoman said the review was a proactive step by the department: “We want to create a shared long-term vision and integrated national strategy for government and industry.

“The findings will help ensure the industry continues to perform at an optimum level, and enable the department to act effectively on what the industry sees as its priorities.”

The group is the latest Automotive Innovation and Growth Team.

The first AIGT was formed in 2002 and chaired by Sir Ian Gibson who was in charge of Nissan’s UK assembly plant when it opened in 1986.

Its recommendations led to the creation of the National Supply Chain Groups programme, the Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership and the Automotive Academy (now part of the National Skills Academy for Manufacturing).

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