BMW and Nissan have both announced investments in UK car manufacturing, helping safeguard thousands of jobs.
BMW will build its next generation of Minis in Britain in a move that will help safeguard more than 5,000 jobs, the company said. It would be investing another £500m in UK car manufacturing. New production facilities and equipment are to be installed at the Mini assembly base in Oxford, the pressings plant in Swindon and its engine plant at Hams Hall near Birmingham.
Nissan has also announced it will invest £192m to build the next version of its Qashqai model in Britain. That is expected to safeguard 6,000 UK jobs. The car will be developed at Nissan’s design centre in London and at its technical site in Cranfield, Bedfordshire, before being built in Sunderland.
Prime Minister David Cameron said the announcements were evidence the government was helping rebalance the British economy with a strengthened manufacturing sector.
“The production and export of iconic British cars like the Mini is making a real contribution to the rebalancing of the economy that this government is determined to achieve,” he said.
The new Mini Coupe is to be launched in 2011 and the Mini Roadster in 2012. Both are to be produced in Oxford, where more than two million Minis have been built since 2001 - three-quarters of them for export.
The announcements come as Cameron meets with the directors of the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) today; the meeting comes ahead of the ACEA’s annual conference, which is to be held for the first time in London.
The gathering is bringing together representatives from vehicle manufacturers including Fiat, Volvo, Renault, Jaguar Land Rover, Ford and Toyota in the capital.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said the conference demonstrated “the growing international recognition of our automotive industry and the interest in our national ambition to generate growth in the whole advanced manufacturing sector”.
The Nissan and BMW announcements showed “the strength and competitiveness of our automotive sector, the skills base that drives our economy and the ambition of the business community to secure long-term growth, which we are taking every available step to support”.
Paul Everitt, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “The UK motor industry is globally competitive and an engine for economic growth. New investments demonstrate the commitment of international investors, safeguard thousands of jobs and open up opportunities for companies at all levels of the supply chain.
“Industry and government must continue to strengthen our partnership to maintain and increase investment in vital areas of R&D, skills and capital equipment.”