Leveraging a boom in "Made in Britain", the government has appointed an automotive ambassador to tour the boardrooms of international car manufacturers, drumming up support to continue a wave of investment that topped £6bn over the past two years.
“The goal is to maintain and extend this [investment] momentum,” said Joe Greenwell, a former Ford executive now chief executive of the Automotive Investment Organization. “I want to remove reasons why people may not want to come here.”
On the surface, Britain’s car industry is in rude health. The record investment into factories run by the likes of Jaguar Land Rover has made a mockery of fears at the turn of the millennium that it was on its deathbed.
Production rose 8 percent last year, against an 8 percent decline in Germany, and a 12 percent fall in France. At the current level of growth, the UK will produce 2 million cars a year by 2017, twice what was built in 2009.
But look closer, past the round-the-clock production at JLR’s factories churning out SUVs for the Chinese, or Nissan’s plant in Sunderland building 500,000 cars a year, and the foundations are a little shakier.
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