This was the message from the head of the Aluminium Federation (ALFED) ahead of the trade body’s annual Aluminium in Road Transport Conference.
The two-day event, which brings together leading engineers and designers from the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Morgan Motor Company, Lotus and others, takes place at the Thinktank Science Museum in Birmingham on November 11 and 12.
Speaking ahead of the conference, ALFED CEO Will Savage said on average only around 35% of parts used in British built cars were made in the UK.
He said: “Clearly we have a lot to be proud of in our motor manufacturing industry, as over the past decade Britain has become a global leader in automotive production again. However, there is a depressing statistic behind this success and that is that around two-thirds of parts used in British built cars are sourced from overseas.
“At ALFED we want to see a huge change in that ratio, and it can be done, because we know that we possess the skills, innovation potential and capacity here in the UK to build more of the components that our automotive manufacturers need.
Mr Savage added: “A large part of the problem is legislation. We need Government to lower the legislative burden companies face, particularly in terms of the cost of energy. For example, UK firms are paying twice as much as French businesses for energy. Levelling the playing field in this respect would go a long way to increasing production of car components in the UK.”
Mr Savage outlined a five-point plan that would assist UK automotive manufacturers to use more homegrown parts:
• Ensure taxes on manufacturers do not exceed those applied to businesses in Continental Europe
• Offer tax relief and financial incentives to assist firms to set up car component production
• Cut import duties on materials used in car component production
• Offer relocation grants to help firms reshore to the UK
• Make sure finance is available to component firms looking to tool up to meet demand
Implementing these measures would go a long way, Mr Savage said, to reducing the cost burden to car component production and provide a much-needed boost to re-establishing UK supply chains.
“There might be an initial Government input, but this would be paid back significantly in the long-term through increased wealth and prosperity in the UK,” he added.
Jaguar Land Rover reported earlier this year that it was now sourcing 50% of its parts from within the UK, making it a leader in use of nationally-produced components.
However, the average for the industry as a whole in the UK is estimated to be 35 per cent, according to Professor David Bailey at the Aston Business School, and one of the speakers at the conference.
As the national trade association for the UK’s aluminium sector, ALFED plays a proactive role in lobbying Government in order to build a more vibrant and sustainable aluminium industry.
ALFED’s Aluminium in Road Transport Conference will discuss Innovation and Technology and Sustainability and Recycling amongst other pressing industry topics. It also features an evening dinner at Birmingham’s Council House with after dinner speaker Adam Hart-Davis, in addition to a tour of Land Rover’s plant in Solihull.
For further information about ALFED’s Aluminium in Road Transport Conference please go to www.alfed.org.uk.