SMMT monthly report gives cause for optimism

Posted on 16 Jun 2011 by The Manufacturer

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has today released data showing encouraging growth figures in the automotive sector for May.

Some of the main points included in the report include that fact that car manufacturing fell by 4.9% last month, but remains up 4.6% over the first five months of 2011. CV output fell by 5.0% in May and was down 5.5% over the January to May period. UK engine production rose by 4.0% in May and was up 5.6% over the first five months of 2011.

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt said: “Despite the difficulties caused by supply shortages from Japan, UK automotive production dropped by just 4.9% in May.”

“Recent announcements demonstrate the commitment being made by global vehicle manufacturers to the UK motor industry. These will secure future production and jobs, as well as opening up new opportunities for the UK-based supply chain,” he added.

In the past two months, a great deal of good news for the automotive sector has come to the surface:

On the 5th of May, Optare unveiled its new manufacturing facility in Elmet, Yorkshire, with the capability to manufacture approximately 1,200 buses annually. 400 jobs safeguarded and the facility will be the first new bus assembly plant to open in the UK in almost 40 years.

On the 7th of June, Aston Martin announced that its four-door Rapide sports car will enter into production at its facility in Gaydon, Warwickshire, from the second half of 2012.

The next day, Toyota unveiled the world’s first large scale solar panel installation for mass vehicle production at its Derbyshire plant. The panels will generate sufficient electricity to manufacture 7,000 cars and save 2,000 tonnes of CO2 annually. The panels will be used in the manufacturing of the Auris hybrid, Auris and Avensis models at the UK plant.

Then, they day after that, Nissan announced a £192 million investment to design, engineer and build the new Qashqai in the UK; 6,000 jobs safeguarded and 43% UK sourced parts. Additionally, £420 million was confirmed in investment in Sunderland plant for the production of the Nissan LEAF from 2013 and for a new stand-alone facility to produce lithium-ion batteries for Renault and Nissan vehicles from 2012.

And, to top it all off, on the 9th of June BMW Group announced a £500 million investment in new facilities and equipment at their Oxford assembly plant, their engine plant in Hams Hall, near Birmingham and their pressings plant in Swindon. The UK was confirmed as a production location for its next generation MINI models and more than 5,000 jobs have been safeguarded. Launches of the MINI Coupé will take place in 2011 and the MINI Roadster in 2012, and both will be built in the UK.

George Archer