Insight into automotive

Posted on 9 Nov 2010 by The Manufacturer

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders today released a gallery of the best snapshots from the UK automotive industry.

BMW, Hams Hall


Photographer: Stewart Foley

Twelve cameras within the quality vision station check that each engine derivative is fitted with the correct components at BMW’s Hams Hall plant. The facility plays a crucial role in BMW Group’s international production network as the centre for the production of all four-cylinder petrol engines for both BMW and MINI. Around 1,000 people are employed at the plant which supplies engines to the MINI production plant at Oxford and to BMW plants.

Leyland, Preston


Photographer: Nigel Waller

In this picture, an operator at the Leyland Truck facility in Preston is using a multi-spindle Tighten To Yield (TTY) machine to secure the front wheels of the vehicle in production. Leyland Trucks operates from one of Europe’s most advanced truck assembly facilities, the Leyland Assembly Plant. The company, employing 970 people, manufactures and exports across the globe. The company’s future development is focused on the use of leading edge applications of information technology in all aspects of truck design, manufacture, procurement and logistics.

Vauxhall, Luton


Photographer: Stephanie Schaerer

Staff at Vauxhall’s plant in Luton Install the gear shift assembly.

Royal College of Art, London

Royal College of Art

Photographer: Mark Green

The Vehicle Design Department at the Royal College of Art in London is one of the world’s most renowned postgraduate courses in the world. Established in 1969, it has trained some of the car industry’s most celebrated and successful designers. Vehicle Design at the RCA seeks to pioneer new approaches for mobile futures. Traffic jams, congestion-charging, parking restrictions, safety and environmental concerns are all determinants of the changing landscape for private and public transport. The course attracts students from all over the world, such as Jong-won Lee from Korea, pictured here at the RCA graduate show in June. His ‘Car of Light’ concept looks at how light affects our senses, an object’s shape and its possible influence on future vehicles. The design shows that light will become an important philosophical and aesthetic factor in car design by using examples that show how light can be used in both the interior and exterior.

MINI, Oxford


Photographer: James Lyon

This photograph depicts associates at MINI Plant Oxford on the finishing line in the assembly hall. Oxford is the heart of MINI production but works in league with plants at Hams Hall and Swindon to form a production triangle in the UK. Plant Oxford is responsible for welding the car body together, paint and assembly of vehicles. Oxford employs more than 3,700 people and is the third oldest plant in the world still producing vehicles. Last year it celebrated 50 years of MINI.

Zytek, Lichfield


Photographer: David Finch

This photo shows an technician employed at Zytek Automotive, based at Fradley near Lichfield assembling an electric motor for Britain’s growing fleet of hybrid and battery-powered vehicles. Spurred on by a government initiative to subsidise early sales of electric vehicles, British companies are becoming world leaders in post-petrol powertrain technology. As well as offering a wide range of electric motors for automotive applications, Zytek is heavily involved in various forms of motor racing technology, including developing hybrid powertrains for advanced racing cars. It also works as a consultant on electric and electronic road car projects for customers like Rolls-Royce, Jaguar and Aston Martin.

MIRA, Warwickshire


Photographer: Scott Simpson

A test car sits, frost-covered at minus 40degC in the new climatic wind tunnel of the MIRA vehicle test facility, near Nuneaton. The chamber, which even has a snow generator to simulate the effects of snow packing on the air intakes of new cars, is designed to save manufacturers the costs, in shipping and lost time, of taking cars overseas for extreme climate testing. The MIRA chamber can also replicate harsh summer conditions, generating temperatures up to 55degC, with humidity of 95%.

Nissan Design Centre, London

Nissan Design Centre

Photographer: Stan Papior

A Nissan modeller works on a scale clay model of the Leaf electric car inside the company’s ultra-modern Rotunda design studio, a former bus station in London’s busy inner suburb of Paddington. Nissan established the studio in 2005 to gather what it says are unique influences from the UK’s thriving capital. The Rotunda, which employs 60 people, 15 of them full-time designers, plays a vital part in Nissan’s global design efforts. Over the past five years its staff have produced both futuristic concept cars and designs intended for big-scale production, including the current Qashqai and Juke models.

Ford, Dagenham

Ford Dagenham

Photographer: Alex Deverill

Alex’s photograph features one of Ford’s two wind turbines that power the Dagenham Diesel Centre (DDC), with a third planned for the near future to ensure the DDC remains 100% powered by renewal energy. Approximately 25% of all Ford engines are made in the UK and the site at Dagenham has the capacity to build one million diesel engines and press out 15 million panels annually. The site is also home to Transport Operations, responsible for moving vehicles and components across the UK and Europe. Although industrial by design, the estate is home to an abundance of wildlife. Over 50 different species of bird life have been recorded on the estate and the lakes are home to freshwater fish such as carp, perch and bream.

See the rest of SMMT’s photo gallery at

If you have any inspirational photographs from your factory or industry, send them to [email protected]