Hitachi Rail to relocate to the UK

Posted on 20 Mar 2014 by The Manufacturer

Japanese electronics giant Hitachi has confirmed it is to move its rail operation from the Far East to the UK, a move it hopes will create 1,500 jobs.

The firm, which manufactured the first bullet train, is looking to increase headcount from the 2,500 it currently employs in the UK, while upping revenues to £2.5bn.

Its announcement comes after Hitachi won a £1.2bn to manufacture intercity trains last July, resulting in a new factory in Newton Aycliffe, Durham and the creation of 750 new jobs.

A spokeswoman for Hitachi UK said the decision will not entail a large move of people from Japan to the UK, with the firm keeping the Japanese arm of the business in its country of origin.

Alistair Dormer, chief executive of Hitachi Rail, said the move signifies the company’s aim to grow in the rail market, with its relocation moving it closer to German rival Siemens.

Mr Dormer said: “Both the UK and Japan remain important as markets for Hitachi Rail, and with our train factory in the north-east of England now under construction, we will work to realise our export potential from the UK, expanding into Europe and emergent markets.”

Business secretary Vince Cable believes the move demonstrates a “huge vote of confidence” for the UK’s industrial capabilities.

“its further testament to the Government’s industrial strategy which is giving companies of Hitachi’s stature the confidence to invest in the UK in an expanding rail sector, creating new jobs and increasing exports that will help sustain long-term economic growth,” Dr Cable said.

Richard Gane, supply chain consultant at Vendigital, said the relocation of Hitachi could prove “highly significant” for the rail industry’s supply chains.

“In this case, Hitachi is moving its manufacturing capability West in order to gain better access to the  UK and its European marketplace, further boosting confidence that manufacturing jobs are coming back to the UK,” he said.

“This is further indication of a growing trend towards ‘localisation’ where the benefits associated with proximity to market are beginning to override those linked to low cost economies.”