UK car production boom could be stalled by parts shortage

UK car production boom could be stalled by parts shortage

Britain’s expansion of car production could be slowed down because there are too few top-quality component suppliers in the home market to meet rising demand.

The warning has been sounded by Richard Parry-Jones, chairman of the Automotive Council, the joint government and industry liaison body charged with mapping the future of the industry.

Investment of £6bn over the past two years has helped to propel Britain to the top of the European motor league, boosting production and sales, creating more than 30,000 new direct and indirect jobs and reinforcing the industry’s “premium brand” position in the global marketplace.

But with only 36pc of the total vehicle sourced in Britain, the council is concerned that weaknesses in the supply chain are making it difficult for manufacturers to forge closer links with component makers and preventing the benefits of the expansion spreading more widely through the economy.

Mr Parry-Jones, former Ford vice-president and technical head, told The Daily Telegraph of his concerns. “I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing to continue to grow assembly plants at a huge rate without having the supply base to take up the added value opportunities,” he said. The council has identified £3bn worth of business where it feels British component makers or new entrants can successfully target and is now attempting to broker a deal between manufacturers and suppliers covering several advanced-technology areas.

A group headed by Joe Greenwell, another ex-Ford executive, is following up leads that could encourage more foreign component makers to set up UK plants.

Mr Parry-Jones said: “We’re not doing enough to increase our share in the value-added chain. The good news is we’ve stopped the decline. The bad news is that we haven’t been able to take advantage of the growth in capacity and assembling engines.”

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