Prime Minister David Cameron tours the McLaren production line, accompanied by executive chairman Ron Dennis (right)

McLaren chief speaks up for manufacturing

A new £50m production centre for McLaren sports cars is expected to generate 350 jobs in automotive manufacturing.

McLaren chairman Ron Dennis used the occasion to remind the Prime Minister how important the sector still is for Britain.

“Design and manufacturing have been at the backbone of British industry for more than 100 years,” said Dennis.

“These are activities that we as a company not only passionately believe in, but consider of primary importance to the future economic growth and recovery of the UK.”

With the opening of the new Woking facility McLaren, which makes both racing and road cars, is expected to increase production of the MP4-12C sports car from a rate of two per day to one every 45 minutes.

This focus on increased productivity mirrors the approach employed at McLaren’s racing division, where specialist product lifestyle management software from Dassault Systèmes is used to improve design and manufacturing productivity on the racing circuit.

This year has seen a number of high-profile announcements in the automotive manufacturing sector which, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), have amounted to the creation of around 9,900 new jobs, the safeguarding of over 12,000 jobs and investments worth over £4 billion, either directly in UK automotive or in automotive supply chain activities.

“We have seen resurgence in automotive manufacturing output over the last two years, and 2011’s investments, including that of McLaren, equate to a long-term commitment to UK manufacturing over the next decade at least,” says Nikki Rooke, head of communications at SMMT.

“The Government now needs to build on this momentum, working closely with the Automotive Council to help deliver growth in automotive manufacturing and the supply chain.”

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