Drive Midlands promotes region’s post-Brexit strength

Posted on 28 Oct 2016 by Jonny Williamson

The Midlands’ thriving automotive industry remains open for business post-Brexit, delivering a cluster of global automotive research, engineering and manufacturing excellence. That’s the call from Midlands Engine automotive inward investment supply chain programme, Drive Midlands.

Drive Midlands will be showcasing the region’s strength and global capabilities at the Automotive Engineering 2016 show, part of Advanced Engineering at The NEC, Birmingham, on November 2-3.

The Midlands currently accounts for more than 40% of all automotive production and has the highest concentration of automotive companies in the UK, with over 60,000 people employed in the sector.

TM Smart Factory Expo

Nov 2-3, The NEC (Birmingham)

The UK’s only dedicated exhibition in response to Industry 4.0, in partnership with Advanced Engineering 2016.

Showcasing the best solution providers and technology offerings, this unique FREE event is for manufacturing business leaders keen to adopt the relevant tools and knowledge to drive business growth.

  • Learn about how Industry 4.0 can improve your business
  • Discover new, more cost-effective solutions to existing processes
  • Hear how other manufacturers are dealing with the fourth industrial revolution
  • Network with new suppliers, customers and business partners
  • Compare solutions across every product sector
  • Watch live demonstrations of the latest products & how they integrate with each other
  • Arrange face-to-face appointments with key suppliers
  • Uncover new ideas and insights to grow your business

Firms from across the Midlands will be speaking on the Drive Midlands stand, including engineering consultancy HSSMI, based at Aston University, and Gestamp, an international group dedicated to the design, development and manufacture of metal automotive components.

David Shepherd, senior business development manager (Automotive) at Marketing Birmingham, which oversees the Drive Midlands programme, explained: “With world leading universities supporting vehicle manufacturers and supply chain research boosting an already-established skills base in the region, the Midlands is widely recognised as a centre of excellence for the automotive industry.

“Annual vehicle production is on the rise in the UK with an estimated £6bn worth of components sourced overseas each year. There is a huge opportunity to bring production back to the UK and build the Midlands, and broader UK, as a global automotive hub.

“In the post-Brexit world, there is no better place for automotive supply chain companies to be than right here in the Midlands. We are keen to push that message with global industry players this week and start conversations that will bring further investment to the region.”

Led by Marketing Birmingham, Department for International Trade’s Automotive Investment Organisation (AIO) and 10 regional LEP partners, Drive Midlands offers a single point of reference for automotive businesses by coordinating local support services within the trade. In its first 12 months, it supported 1,200 automotive supply chain firms looking to grow and it has helped attract five new companies to the area, creating 265 new jobs.

Simon Barnes from the High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute commented: “[HSSMI’s] aim is to improve the efficiency of UK and European manufacturers and their value chains, so it’s vital that we have a presence in the largest automotive clusters, which includes the Midlands.

“Drive Midlands is vital not only in encouraging overseas investment to the region, but in coordinating local support services for the automotive sector and fostering greater collaboration with cutting-edge organisations like HSSMI.”