UK car sector roars
BRITAIN is accelerating away from its European competitors in the carmaking sector with investment flowing into the factories of Nissan and Jaguar Land Rover as Chinese and American demand drives sales.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) said on Tuesday it was pumping STG1.5 billion (RM7.9 billion) into its plant in Solihull near Birmingham, creating 1,700 jobs and giving a welcome fillip to industrial central England.
The Solihull plant will make new lightweight Jaguar and Land Rover models made of aluminium.
In northeast England, Nissan has been granted permission to extend its already vast plant in Sunderland, securing jobs in an area where major employers are in short supply.
The investment decision was announced at the Frankfurt Motor Show by JLR chief executive Ralf Speth, who said it was "further evidence of our commitment to advancing the capability of the UK automotive sector and its supply chain".
JLR now employs 11,000 people in Britain, with another 24,000 employed in its supply chain.
Joe Rundle, an analyst at ETX Capital, credited the British government with reviving an industry that once looked close to extinction.
"The UK carmaking industry was considered a dying sector as car factories produced high volume motors by low-skilled manufacturing," he said.
"However, the UK government's initiatives to kick-start manufacturing activity is turning the country's carmaking industry into one of premium niche manufacturing."
The government announced in March that it was pumping STG500 million into the auto sector.
Demand from China and the recovering US economy are credited with driving sales. AFP