Factory built and kit versions UK sportscar manufacturer, Westfield has secured a deal worth up to £30m to export self-driving vehicles to South Korea.
A South Korean province has ordered five of the electric driverless pods for initial testing, with a further option on 195. The project could provide millions of pounds worth of business for UK companies, including the Dudley-based Westfield Sportscars
Westfield CEO, Julian Turner explained: “We are really excited to be working with the UK SMART City Team to help drive this technology of the future, from the West Midlands to South Korea.
“The team – consisting of Westfield, Ordnance Survey, Transport Research Laboratory, Cenex, Potenza Technology, Oxford University Energy Group, Fusion Processing – all have worked hard to develop the relationship together over the past 12 months and it is with great pleasure to be signing a deal between the parties.
“There will be many great things to develop over the coming months, sharing legal, insurance, safety, technology and a passion to make internet of things work a better way”.
The UK has a strong automotive trading link with South Korea and the number of cars exported to the country has increased five-fold, making it the UK’s eighth largest export market outside of Europe – up from 16th in 2009.
And the UK is South Korea’s fifth largest foreign direct investor, and more companies than ever are keen to expand their operations and invest in country.
The UK also attracted more foreign direct investment projects than ever before (year 2016-17). With more than 2,200 projects recorded, the post-referendum figures show an increase of 2% on the previous year.
The deal comes after international trade minister MP Mark Garnier signed a new agreement during a visit to South Korea to strengthen trade and investment ties.
Garnier commented: “The Midlands engine is in full gear as we lead the way in manufacturing expertise and show the world that Britain is open for business. Demand for our goods and services is clearly out there and we will continue to support businesses in making the most of global markets as we leave the EU.”