11 major vehicle manufacturers have operations in the UK
11 major vehicle manufacturers having a presence in the UK

1. Overview

The UK automotive industry generated revenues of £60 billion in 2013. 11 major vehicle manufacturers and 18 of the world’s top 20 suppliers to the automotive industry have operations in the UK. There are big investment opportunities for overseas investors and lots of help available from industry and government.

2. Supply chain

The increase in the number of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs)1, has created opportunities for companies to invest in the supply chain.

UK vehicle and engine manufacturers spent £31 billion on components last year. OEMs would like to source around £3 billion more components in the UK and predicted growth in vehicle and engine production will mean demand for components from the UK.

As a result, there will be new opportunities for companies to enter the UK’s automotive supply chain.

3. Research and Development (R&D)

The UK’s universities and research centres spent £1.7 billion on automotive related R&D in 2012. Developing low-carbon technologies is a research area supported by:

Work is also supported by £250 million of government funding in research centres called Catapults. They aim to quicken the introduction of new and emerging technologies into the market. They are aided by additional private sector funds and companies working together on R&D projects.

The High Value Manufacturing Catapult and the Transport Systems Catapult are examples of centres that receive funding.

4. Exporting from the UK

The UK is an ideal location to export products and services overseas. There is a growing demand for UK automotive products around the world, as well as £3 billion demand in the UK that has not been met yet.

The UK exported 81% of the vehicles it produced in 2012 and 49% of these were exported outside Europe. China, Russia and the US make up 28% of UK vehicle exports.

See ‘Automotive sector: export help’ for more information.

5. Motorsport

UK motorsport leads the world and is increasingly relevant to the commercial automotive industry.

In 2014 there will be 19 Formula 1 (F1) races across five continents. 8 out of 11 F1 teams are based in the UK. They are:

  • Red Bull - Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
  • McLaren - Woking, Surrey
  • Mercedes - Brackley, Northamptonshire
  • Lotus - Enstone, Oxfordshire
  • Williams - Grove, Oxfordshire
  • Force India - Silverstone, Northamptonshire
  • Marussia - Banbury, Oxfordshire
  • Caterham - Leafield, Oxfordshire

6. Government and industry automotive strategy

The UK automotive industrial strategy recently set out the actions that government and industry will take to secure the next stage of automotive sector growth in the UK.

7. Automotive Investment Organisation (AIO)

The Automotive Investment Organisation (AIO) aims to help increase investment in the UK automotive sector. The organisation is led by Joe Greenwell, former Chairman of Ford of Britain and Chairman and CEO of Jaguar Land Rover. The AIO brings automotive industry expertise into government.

The Automotive Council works with the AIO. The council’s members include all of the major OEMs operating in the UK, suppliers and some government departments.

8. Locations

There are different locations across the UK known as Enterprise Zones that offer investors incentives to locate themselves there including:

  • reduced taxes
  • simpler planning rules
  • financial benefits

Many Enterprise Zones have employment clusters, where businesses from the same sector are located in the same zones.

More information about the Enterprise Zones across England, Wales and Scotland.

9. Contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) for help

DIT can provide overseas companies and investors with more information about opportunities in the UK’s automotive market.

Enquiries for overseas companies looking to set up in the UK

Overseas companies can contact the Investment Services Team for information about setting up in the UK including the help that is available.

  1. OEM definition: manufactures products or components that are purchased by another company and retailed under that purchasing company’s brand name.