On the day that production resumes at the formerly thriving Rover Longbridge car plant, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has released statistics outlining the continuing health of the UK automotive industry.
Today, the first of a new MG line – the 6 model – will roll off the lines at the Longbridge factory which has been mothballed since MG Rover went into administration in 2005 with the loss of 6,000 jobs. The company’s assets were brought by Chinese firm NAC which has since merged with Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation.
The parts for the new model are mostly being built in China and will be shipped to Longbridge for assembly by around 400 workers there.
The car is due to go on sale from July at a cost of £15,500 to £19,000.
Local MP Richard Burden hailed the return of car making to the world famous site.
He said: “Longbridge has been through dark days. Nothing will bring back the days when thousands were employed on Longbridge production lines. But the greatest tribute we can pay to the heritage that made the name Longbridge synonymous with motor manufacturing throughout the 20th century is to build a future in the 21st century.”
Meanwhile, the SMMT has labeled the UK automotive market as “one of the world’s strongest.”
In 2010, the organisation points out, 30 different UK manufacturing sites produced 1.4 million cars and commercial vehicles across 50 different models. What’s more, the UK automotive supply chain is capable of supplying 80% of UK OEM demand, it states.
“The UK has a dynamic and diverse automotive industry, demonstrating excellence across car, van, engine, bus, truck and coach manufacturing,” said Paul Everitt, SMMT chief executive. “The UK exports over 75% of the 1.4million cars and commercial vehicles it manufactures each year and has the capability to supply around 80% of UK-based OEM component demand. The UK has demonstrated its global competitiveness and is winning investment in engineering and design, along with low carbon R&D and manufacturing. This trend should encourage young people to choose careers in the automotive sector.”
More automotive industry facts are available on the SMMT’s website.