Some of the biggest car manufacturers in Europe visited Downing Street to discuss the growing confidence in the UK automotive industry and the Government’s commitment to its success.
The Prime Minister hosted a meeting of the directors of the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA), shortly before ACEA held its annual conference in London, the first time it has met in the UK.
It represents some of the biggest car, truck and bus manufacturers in Europe, including Fiat, Volvo, Renault, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Toyota.
David Cameron said: “We are putting money into advanced manufacturing technology and innovation centres and expanding the number of apprenticeships.
“We really want to see the automotive industry flourish and we are determined to help it succeed.”
Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The conference in London shows the growing international recognition of our automotive industry and the interest in our national ambition to generate growth in the whole advanced manufacturing sector.”
The UK automotive sector provides more than 300,000 manufacturing jobs accounting for 12% of the UK’s total manufacturing employment and 480,000 in the motor retail sector.
Automotive is the UK’s number one manufactured export – in 2010 the UK auto sector exported more than £27 billion-worth of vehicles and parts. Seventy five per cent of cars, 73% of commercial vehicles and 72% of UK engine production were exported in 2010.
Spending on R&D rose 9% during the recession, showing the industry’s commitment to long-term growth in this country.
Paul Everitt, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders chief executive, said: “The UK motor industry is globally competitive and an engine for economic growth.
"New investments demonstrate the commitment of international investors, safeguard thousands of jobs and open up opportunities for companies at all levels of the supply chain.
“Industry and government must continue to strengthen our partnership to maintain and increase investment in vital areas of R&D, skills and capital equipment.”
Dieter Zetsche, president of ACEA and head of Daimler AG, said: “We acknowledge the positive approach taken by the UK government.
“It is first and foremost the responsibility of the manufacturers to ensure competitiveness, and we pursue that goal head-on.
"But some issues are beyond our reach, whereas governments do play an important role.”
The main issues on the agenda of the talks included the need for:
- fair free trade with major economies such as India and Japan;
- Government support for the swift introduction of new technologies;
- less bureaucracy.
Zetsche said: “We ask governments to ensure the game is fair.”