Stoke Staffs LEP
Midlands automotive sector drives jobs and growth
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Midlands automotive sector drives jobs and growth

 Stoke-on Trent and Staffordshire LEP is flying the flag for our automotive sector at Automechanika this week, as the latest figures reveal a boom in inward investment.

  • Region secured 58 FDI  (foreign direct investment) projects in 2016/17
  • Investments supported the creation of 2,900 jobs
  • Announcement comes ahead of the Midlands’ presence at international trade show Automechanika on 6-8 June
  • Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP joins forces with Drive Midlands to showcase our great region to potential investors

Figures released today by automotive inward investment body Drive Midlands show that the region’s automotive sector secured 58 new foreign direct investments during 2016/17, a 10% increase on the previous year. These new projects, which involved investors from the US, India and China, helped to generate almost 3,000 new jobs across the Midlands.

The announcement comes ahead of Make It Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s presence at the UK’s largest automotive trade show Automechanika this week with Drive Midlands, where the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP’s inward investment team will work alongside leading organisations and partners to build relationships and promote the region’s offer to potential investors. This year’s event will feature 800 aftermarket and supply chain exhibitors, set to showcase the latest products and automotive technology.

These latest FDI results reaffirm that the automotive industry in the Midlands remains open for business following the UK’s decision to leave the EU, continuing to attract international investment and driving job creation. In 2017, the Midlands was recognised alongside countries including Poland and Turkey as a top global destination for automotive foreign direct investment by FDI Intelligence – owing to its clusters of automotive research, engineering and manufacturing excellence. The Midlands currently accounts for 50% of the UK’s automotive activity, including being home to seven high-volume car manufacturers, seven commercial vehicle producers and 16 of the top 20 automotive suppliers.

Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP chairman David Frost CBE said:

“Our area has strength in depth in the automotive sector, as the home to global brands including Michelin in Stoke-on-Trent and Jaguar Land Rover at i54 in South Staffordshire, as well as a wide range of automotive suppliers such as Gestamp and Maier UK.

“Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire’s manufacturing expertise, enthusiastic and skilled workforce and range of development-ready sites make this an excellent location to live, work and invest and we look forward to meeting new investors at Automechanika and promoting our region’s long-term growth potential.”

David Shepherd, Senior Business Development Manager (Automotive) at the West Midlands Growth Company, which oversees the Drive Midlands initiative, said:

“The fact that the Midlands continues to attract foreign investors is proof of its resilience and ability to deliver a ‘business as usual’ perspective. As we wait for the Brexit situation to unfold, automotive businesses from OEMs right through to large manufacturers are pulling together to make sure this region remains a safe and attractive bet for investors. The pipeline continues and we’re hoping that our presence at Automechanika this week provides the perfect platform to discuss the issues, challenges and opportunities faced, and ultimately secure more interest.”

Drive Midlands will be showcasing the region’s automotive excellence, together with a range of partners, on stand 6D70 at Automechanika at the NEC Birmingham on 6-8 June 2017.

For more information visit or call 0121 202 5115.

Maier UK chief executive Urko Zelaia and sales manager Paul McCardle are pictured at the firm’s Burntwood plant. Maier UK has invested £8.5million in a research and development programme and new equipment to manufacture automotive plastic parts, aided by a £1.12million contribution from the LEP via the Government’s Regional Growth Fund.


Launched in 2015, Drive Midlands is an initiative funded by public and private sector partnership to showcase, promote and support the automotive industry in the region.

The group is led by Marketing Birmingham and UK Trade & Investment’s Automotive Investment Organisation (AIO) and ten regional LEP partners including: Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Leicestershire, The Marches, Stoke-on-Trent & Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

The steering committee of the ten LEPs is chaired by the Department for Business, Enterprise, Innovation and Skills and the AIO.