The U.K. car industry combines leading-edge technology with Europe's highest level of value added per worker. This combination provides an increasingly attractive location for OEMs and Tier Ones to both pioneer new solutions and manufacture existing products. The U.K. automotive industry is at the forefront of technology in three key areas: low carbon propulsion, lightweight vehicle structures and connected and autonomous vehicles.
Great Britain and Northern Ireland
U.K. car production has risen by 70 percent since 2009 to 1.7 million units, while local content per vehicle increased to 44 percent from 36 percent in the past five years. The foundation of this success is productivity. According to Eurostat, the U.K. is the only country in Europe where car factory workers each contribute more than €100,000 in added-value. Low wage growth and harmonious labour relations also play a part, with the fewest strikes in Western Europe.
The U.K. is widely seen as setting the standard in the European car industry. The long-term commitment to expenditure gives industry the certainty it needs to plan complex r&d projects, while the academic research provides a rich source of new concepts. Four of the world's top 10 research universities are based in the U.K., and the nation has established a network of high-value manufacturing "catapults" which have been helped companies put into production the prototypes coming out of academia.
The U.K. government and the car industry have jointly established long-term funding programmes for low carbon propulsion through the Advanced Propulsion Centre (£1 billion over 10 years), battery development through the Faraday Challenge (£246 million), and driverless vehicles through the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (£200 million) and Meridian Mobility (£100 million).
The U.K. has long been the dominant force in motorsport - since 1967, only two teams have won the Formula 1 Championship from outside the U.K. As Formula 1 technology is increasingly applied to road cars, there is a growing demand from global OEMs for the U.K.'s motorsport engineering skills. The U.K. also pioneered the use of automotive carbon fibre and has established itself as the leading location in Europe for developing and testing connected and autonomous vehicles.