News story

UK car industry shows its strength to European Chiefs

It comes on the day that BMW announced an additional £500 million investment in its UK production network over the next three years and confirmed…

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


It comes on the day that BMW announced an additional £500 million investment in its UK production network over the next three years and confirmed that the UK will be a production location for its next generation MINI models, helping to safeguard over 5,000 jobs.

It follows the announcement from Nissan that workers in Britain will design, engineer and build the next version of the best-selling Nissan Qashqai. This £192 million investment will help safeguard 6,000 jobs, both direct and indirect through the UK supply chain.

The Prime Minister hosted the meeting with the Board of Directors of the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association (ACEA) in Downing Street this morning. The ACEA then held their annual conference in London, the first time that they have met in the UK.

The ACEA represents some of the biggest car, truck and bus manufacturers at European level such as Fiat, Volvo, Renault, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Toyota.

Today’s meeting is a clear indication of the real strength of the UK’s automotive sector and that the Government’s focus on growth, manufacturing and skills has gained international recognition

The Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne also launched the next stage of the Government’s Growth Review today setting out the new sectors and themes which can make a substantial contribution to the economy and have the potential to drive growth in other areas.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“I’m delighted that so many automobile manufacturers are actually bringing production and supply chain back to the UK.

“We want to do everything we can to encourage that by reducing our rates of corporate tax and setting up the Regional Growth Fund, which is assisting a number of automotive companies.

“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 do the things to help it succeed.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said:

“Today’s 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.

“Car makers are boosting their investment in Britain. Nissan will design and develop the new Qashqai in the UK and BMW is building the new generation of MINI here as well as putting £500m into their UK manufacturing operations.

“These decisions show the strength and competitiveness of our automotive sector, the skills base that drives our economy and the ambition of the business community to secure long-term growth, which we are taking every available step to support.”

The UK automotive sector

The automotive sector is hugely important to the UK with over 300,000 manufacturing jobs accounting for 12 per cent of the UK’s total manufacturing employment and a further 480,000 in the motor retail sector. We also have an unparalleled number of premium and niche manufacturers in the UK - as well as innovative technology makers and designers.

Automotive is the UK’s number one manufactured export - in 2010 the UK auto sector exported over £27 billion-worth of vehicles and parts. 75 per cent of cars, 73 per cent of commercial vehicles and 72 per cent of UK engine production were exported in 2010. Automotive exports from the UK are almost at an all time high - approaching record pre-recession levels.

Over £1.5 billion was spent in the UK on automotive R&D in 2009 (the last year figures were available) - spending actually rose 9 per cent during the recession, showing the industry’s commitment to long-term growth in this country. And we have world class design engineering expertise and development facilities, including those at Millbrook and MIRA, the world-leading automotive vehicle testing facility.

Notes to editors:

  1. The Growth Review was launched in November 2010 in_ The Path to Strong, Sustainable and Balanced Growth_. It is a rolling programme, to last the whole of the Parliament, that will identify structural reforms with the potential to improve the business environment, and examine the barriers to private sector growth in specific sectors.

  2. The first phase of the Growth Review reported alongside the Budget in_ The Plan for Growth_. Departments will be accountable for implementation of more than 100 actions across 15 themes, and progress will be published in monthly progress updates of their Business Plans, available from More detail on the Growth Review can be found at

  3. The Government wants a balanced and dynamic economy, where exports and investments drive growth. That is why Advanced Manufacturing was chosen as the subject of one of the Government’s first industry-specific Growth Reviews.

  4. BIS’s online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.

Notes to Editors

Contact Information

Name BIS Press Office Job Title

Division COI Phone




Name Rebecca Murrell Job Title

Division Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Phone 020 7215 6403 Fax



Published 9 June 2011