UK automotive RD boosted by Enterprise Zones

Today (28 November), government announced that Local Enterprise Zones are pushing the UK ahead of global competitors after attracting overseas investment from Swedish automotive safety systems manufacturer, Haldex.Haldex is set to create its new European Technical Centre at the MIRA Enterprise Zone, consolidating its European R&D operations in the UK.The state of the art 25,000 sq ft facility will bring an initial 44 high tech jobs to the area, developing a new generation of safety systems.Five Enterprise Zones are firmly behind innovation in the UK’s automotive industry. They are part of government’s Automotive Industrial Strategy, which aims to secure the long term future of the sector and grow the UK’s share of it, using research and development to stay at the cutting edge of change.Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles said, “We have acted fast to tackle the deficit. We are now focused on backing the industries of the future, growing the private sector and making Britain a great place to do business.“When international companies like Haldex invest here it shows we have got our offer right. Every 20 seconds a car, van, bus or truck rolls off a UK production line and Enterprise Zones like MIRA Technology Park are magnets for the global motor industry with the best international businesses choosing them as their home.”This latest development adds to the host of other automotive companies that already base key parts of their global businesses as the MIRA site. Ashok Leyland, Bosch, and Lockheed Martin are already using the UK to develop the transport technology of the future, including the next generation of electric cars, braking systems, intelligent transport systems and unmanned vehicle systems. Government is investing £7.4m in loans to fund infrastructure investment to help MIRA expand.Secretary of State for Business Vince Cable said, “The British car industry is a big national success story. This year it has attracted more than £2.5 billion of investment and created 5,000 new jobs. Haldex’s decision to base its European Technical Centre at MIRA shows we are an attractive place for international companies to do business.“The Government’s industrial strategy is clearly working and giving business the confidence to invest and create more high skilled, long term jobs in the UK. We have launched the £3 million Automotive Investment Organisation – a specialist team dedicated to winning overseas investment in the UK car industry. We have also committed more than £1 billion over the next 10 years to ensure the UK maintains its leading position on researching and developing greener car technology.”Bo Annvik, President and CEO at Haldex, said, “The relocation of our European R&D Centre to MIRA Technology Park will allow us to expand our Engineering capabilities and benefit from integrating at one site our world class design and development resources with the multiple test track facilities at MIRA. We look forward to be a part of the MIRA community, and we believe that this initiative will be a keystrategic step in supporting our development that will benefit both Haldex and our customers.”Enterprise Zones are generating new long term investment , laying the foundations for future industries and helping to rebalance the economy. Since they were launched in April 2012, England’s 24 Enterprise Zones have attracted 212 businesses, secured half a billion pounds of private sector investment and created over 4,600 jobs.Today’s announcement is further proof that Enterprise Zones are attracting international companies, building centres of excellence in key sectors such as automotive, pharmaceuticals and renewable energy, and delivering the infrastructure and training that will ensure that Britain continues to be competitive and successful on the global stage. They are delivering government’s industrial strategy by investing in technology, boosting skills, strengthening supply chains and maintaining the UK’s business competitiveness.Over 35 top automotive companies, including Toyota, Cosworth and Pirelli, are already in Enterprise Zones in the UK. On top of that over 15 automotive businesses have moved to or plan to move to the Zones since 2012, including Ashok Leyland, Bloodhound, Bosch Engineering, Jaguar Land Rover, Lockheed Martin, Norgren and Triumph.The Zones are working with local areas and schools to inspire the next generation of automotive workers and will create apprenticeships to train local people. By 2020, around 200 new apprenticeships and graduate training places will be required on MIRA. There is also an employment and skills work programme to support skills for businesses locating there.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more