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Report sets out low carbon direction of UK automotive sector

A new report sets out how we develop a new low-carbon personal transportation system, at the same time as creating a transformed business environment in the UK to provide a more compelling investment proposition versus other countries.

The industry-led New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (NAIGT) chaired by Richard Parry-Jones today published its report setting out its 20 year vision for the automotive industry and its recommendations to Government and industry to achieve this.

Key among these recommendations are proposals to:

• Establish a joint industry/government Automotive Council to develop, guide and implement a long term strategic framework for the industry; and

• Focus the UK R&D agenda around a new industry-consensus technology roadmap, and as part of this establish “Test Bed UK”, a bold, large scale pilot to develop, demonstrate and build the new low-carbon personal transportation system including its infrastructure.

Supporting these two key areas of work are a series of recommendations focused on:

* Creating a transformed business environment in the UK to provide a more compelling investment proposition versus other countries;

* Agreeing on the technology roadmaps for low carbon vehicles and fuels and exploiting opportunities to promote the UK as a strong candidate to develop these and other technologies; and

* Developing a stronger and more competitive supply chain through joint research on focused areas, skills development and the enhancement and brokering of collaboration opportunities for achieving effective scale in R&D and core technology components

The NAIGT vision for the automotive industry in the UK is:

‘A competitive, growing, and dynamic industry making a large and increasing contribution to employment and prosperity in the UK, and playing a decisive global role in developing and manufacturing exciting, low carbon vehicle transportation solutions’.

While the current economic downturn has of course had a very significant impact on the industry globally, the NAIGT concluded at an early stage that it would be wrong to focus only on the short term. There will always be a demand for personal and road freight transport and therefore always a need for an automotive industry. The industry also represents a key and successful part of the UK manufacturing base.

Richard Parry-Jones said: “The auto sector in the UK has transformed itself into a world-class industry, with superb design and engineering skills, very high productivity, product reliability that rivals the best in the world, and flexible, constructive labour relations. This report is a significant step towards achieving the NAIGT’s ambition of ensuring that the industry in the UK can play a decisive global role in developing and manufacturing exciting, low carbon vehicles for the future.”

Economics and Business Minister Ian Pearson said: “I welcome the publication of this report and would like to thank all involved from the automotive industry, academia and the wider stakeholder community for their substantial contribution to this project. The NAIGT rightly emphasises the importance of the Automotive Industry to the UK manufacturing Sector and the wider economy. It also recognises that to secure this position for the long term, the UK needs to become a leading global player in the development of low carbon transport.

On 16 April we launched the Government’s vision to promote ultra low carbon transport over the next five years, to which the NAIGT made an important contribution.

I also see merit in the proposed establishment of an industry/Government Automotive Council to develop an agreed long term strategy for the industry. However, further consultation on this and the other more detailed recommendations in the report is needed before the Government can give a formal response. ”

The New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team (NAIGT), was launched in April 2008 to facilitate a collective strategic view from the industry of the innovation and growth challenges that it faces. It is an industry-led project facilitated by BERR’s Automotive Unit.

The NAIGT consists of senior representatives of the UK automotive sector.

The full NAIGT report is available at:
http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file51139.pdf