Press release

Enterprise zones drive forward UK industry with foreign investment

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Enterprise zones are pushing the UK ahead of global competitors after attracting even more overseas investment.

Enterprise zones are pushing the UK ahead of global competitors after attracting even more overseas investment Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said today (28 November 2013).

The latest investment, which comes from Swedish company Haldex, will be based at the MIRA Technology Park Enterprise Zone, creating jobs and growth for the local economy.

Haldex, a Swedish manufacturer of automotive safety systems with annual net sales of nearly £400 million, is to create its new European Technical Centre at the MIRA Enterprise Zone, consolidating their European research and development operations in the UK.

The state of the art 25,000 square foot facility in the heart of the Midlands will bring an initial 44 high tech jobs to the area, developing a new generation of safety systems.

The announcement signals the ongoing resurgence of the UK automotive industry and a substantial investment into MIRA Technology Park.

Five enterprise zones are firmly behind innovation in the UK’s automotive industry. They are part of the government’s automotive strategy which aims to secure the long term future of the sector and grow the UK’s share of it, using research and development to stay at the cutting edge of change.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles said:

We have acted fast to tackle the deficit. We are now focused on backing the industries of the future, growing the private sector and making Britain a great place to do business.

When international companies like Haldex invest here it shows we have got our offer right. Every 20 seconds a car, van, bus or truck rolls off a UK production line and enterprise zones like MIRA Technology Park are magnets for the global motor industry with the best international businesses choosing them as their home.

This is just the beginning - enterprise zones are at the heart of our long-term economic plans. They are already making a big difference, attracting increased investment to the UK - half a billion pounds so far - and creating over 4,600 jobs in just a year and a half.

This is the latest signal that MIRA is being seen the world over as an automotive centre of excellence. The technology park is set to become the most advanced transport research and development centre in Europe. Bosch, Ashok Leyland and Lockheed Martin have already located key parts of their global businesses there.

MIRA’s world beating facilities are helping firms to develop the transport technology of the future, including the next generation of electric cars, braking systems, intelligent transport systems and unmanned vehicle systems. The government is investing £7.4 million in loans to fund infrastructure investment to help MIRA expand.

Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable said:

The British car industry is a big national success story. This year it has attracted more than £2.5 billion of investment and created 5,000 new jobs. Haldex’s decision to base its European Technical Centre at MIRA shows we are an attractive place for international companies to do business.

The government’s industrial strategy is clearly working and giving business the confidence to invest and create more high skilled, long term jobs in the UK. We have launched the £3 million Automotive Investment Organisation - a specialist team dedicated to winning overseas investment in the UK car industry. We have also committed more than £1 billion over the next 10 years to ensure the UK maintains its leading position on researching and developing greener car technology.

Bo Annvik, President and CEO at Haldex, said:

The relocation of our European Research and Development Centre to MIRA Technology Park will allow us to expand our engineering capabilities and benefit from integrating at 1 site our world class design and development resources with the multiple test track facilities at MIRA. We look forward to being a part of the MIRA community, and we believe that this initiative will be a key strategic step in supporting our development that will benefit both Haldex and our customers.

George Gillespie, CEO, MIRA Ltd said:

Haldex, and its new European Technical Centre, is a fantastic addition to our site, to the growing automotive cluster based here, and to the region as a whole. From the very beginning one of our key aims for the MIRA Technology Park was to create the ideal location for international businesses to locate their European research and development operations, and this latest announcement signals yet another significant step forward in that vision becoming reality.

We are very excited about this latest news, and expect more announcements to follow.

Joe Greenwell, CEO of the Automotive Investment Organisation, said:

I welcome Haldex’s decision to choose the MIRA Enterprise Zone as the location of its new European technical centre, as I am very familiar with MIRA’s strengths, which include a superb offer to potential inward investors underpinned by its status as an enterprize zone. Investments like this continue to demonstrate the ongoing strength of the UK automotive sector, not just in existing production, but also in the technologies of the future, and I am confident that the sector will continue to match the best the world has to offer.

Enterprise zones are making a difference to the economy

Enterprise zones are generating new long term investment, laying the foundations for future industries and helping to rebalance the economy. Since they were launched in April 2012, England’s 24 enterprise zones have attracted 212 businesses, secured half a billion pounds of private sector investment and created over 4,600 jobs.

Today’s announcement is further proof that enterprise zones are attracting international companies, building centres of excellence in key sectors such as automotive, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy, and delivering the infrastructure and training that will ensure that Britain continues to be competitive and successful on the global stage. They are delivering the government’s industrial strategy by investing in technology, boosting skills, strengthening supply chains and maintaining the UK’s business competitiveness.

There is mounting evidence of this positive impact and the growing foreign interest in enterprise zones. Earlier this year Chinese investors pledged £1 billion to build London’s Asian business park in the Royal Docks Zone and a British-Chinese joint venture has won the contract to develop Manchester’s £650 million ‘Airport City’. In the North East Enterprise Zone, Japanese automotive supply business, Vantec, completed a new £20 million logistics centre in Sunderland, creating 230 local jobs.

UK automotive industry is driving forward

Enterprise zones in Leicestershire, Liverpool, the Black Country, Sunderland and Northampton are using business incentives like global car manufacturers to make themselves magnets for the motor industry, boosting supply chains and generating thousands of jobs.

Over 35 top automotive companies are already in the zones including Toyota, Cosworth and Pirelli. On top of that over 15 automotive businesses have moved to or plan to move to the zones since 2012, including Jaguar Land Rover, Bosch Engineering, Triumph, Norgren, Ashok Leyland, Lockheed Martin and Bloodhound.

The zones are working with local areas and schools to inspire the next generation of automotive workers and will create apprenticeships to train local people. By 2020, around 200 new apprenticeships and graduate training places will be required on MIRA. There is also an employment and skills work programme to support skills for businesses locating there.

In the North East Enterprise Zone, Gateshead College is creating a groundbreaking International Centre for Low Carbon Vehicle Development adjacent to Nissan, establishing a source of vocational skills for local businesses.

Further information

Enterprise zones are at the centre of the government’s ambitious, long term plan to rebalance the economy and achieve strong, lasting growth and widely shared prosperity. They are key to putting the government’s industrial strategy into action and attracting investment and supporting innovation in new and emerging markets. Read more information on the enterprise zones website and on Local Invest UK.

The government is ensuring that enterprise zones are well connected with transport networks, and super-fast broadband. And new businesses receive strong fiscal support from government through business rate reductions and capital allowances, along with support to sell into growing markets overseas and to attract inward investment. Backed up by billions of pounds of government funding in infrastructure and training they will ensure that Britain continues to be competitive and successful on the global stage.

Swedish company Haldex is a major supplier to the commercial vehicle sector, manufacturing safety related systems for braking, suspension and stability control. The announcement marks the start of the development which is due to complete in October 2014. Haldex, employs 2,200 people across its 10 global production sites and 3 distribution centres. Its net sales for 2012 were £390 million.

Automotive enterprise zones

MIRA: the UK’s largest automotive technology park, home to the most extensive automotive test ground and test laboratory facilities in the UK, is developing the future technology of the UK transport industry.

Black Country: the leading automotive business hub in the UK. Jaguar Land Rover is investing £500 million in the construction of a new engine plant in the zone to manufacture new engines.

North East: the zone will be a world leader in the emerging market for low carbon research and development. Companies in the enterprise zone can work in collaboration with Nissan, and have access to their world class facilities. The plant produces more cars per worker than any factory in Europe. One in 3 new cars produced in the UK are built there.

Northampton: the zone is growing into a centre for high-performance, automotive engineering and motor sports in close proximity to Formula One’s Silverstone Racetrack and the top Formula One teams, including Red Bull.

Mersey Waters: the zone will place automotive supply chain companies in close proximity to the many major car and truck manufacturers in the region.

Key facts

Most major automotive companies in the UK, like Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Aston Martin and Bentley either design, test or develop their cars in an English enterprise zone. They are developing the next generation of electric cars, braking systems, unmanned vehicle systems and intelligent transport systems.

  • Low carbon: Nissan is already producing its all-electric leaf car and high tech batteries in the North East Zone which is focusing on the mass production of low carbon technology
  • Safety: the MIRA Network Assisted Vehicle ensures no drivers or fully automated vehicles are needed during crash testing scenarios through wireless technology
  • Design: automotive companies, such as Bentley, use the Sheffield Zone’s cutting edge 3D visualisation suite to dramatically reduce the number of prototypes required in the development cycle of a new model


  • 15 automotive businesses have moved onto the zones since April 2012, including Bosch Engineering, Triumph, Norgren, Ashok Leyland and Lockheed Martin and Bloodhound
  • Enterprise zone incentives, along with these global names, attract supply chain companies; Vantec Europe opened its new £22.5 million warehouse which produces parts for manufacturers including Nissan and Cummins making Vantec the largest supplier of critical logistics to Nissan Sunderland plant; they will create 250 new jobs over 2 years in the area

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