Automotive News, July 2017

Production of new UK cars fell by almost 10% last month compared with a year ago, latest industry figures show. The Society of Motor Manufacturing and Traders (SMMT) said 136,119 new cars were built in May, 9.7% fewer than the same month in 2016.


The SMMT said carmakers were now set to ramp up production of new models, with exports the main driver of demand.  576,556 new cars have been shipped abroad since January, a 0.8% increase year-on-year.


Although production for overseas markets fell 9% in May. Almost 80% of all cars made in Britain are exported, with more than half going to Europe. Production for the home market fell 12.8% in May with 153,199 cars destined for UK showrooms.





Rolls-Royce has announced a £150m investment in its Derby, Hucknall and Annesley plants, and will keep a facility open in Derby it previously said it would close, in a move that will safeguard 7,000 jobs.  The investment, which will be made over the next few years, is part of Rolls-Royce’s ongoing industrial transformation and will provide additional capacity as the firm develops and tests the next generation of aero engines.


The majority of the investment will provide a new facility for the testing of large civil aero engines in Derby, the home of Rolls-Royce’s civil aerospace division. The new testbed will be capable of testing a range of engines including the Trent XWB, which powers the Airbus A350 XWB.


There will also be investment in Rolls-Royce’s large engine Maintenance Repair & Overhaul (MRO) facility in Derby, as well as in its manufacturing facilities in Derby and Hucknall, Nottinghamshire. The firm has also committed to retaining the Precision Machining Facility (PMF) in Derby, which it previously announced would be closed.


The move will secure the jobs of more than 7,000 Rolls-Royce jobs across the East Midlands, facilitating the ramp-up in engine production.





Initially set for a limited production run of just 155 cars, RapidE is Aston Martin’s first all-electric model. As such, it forms the vanguard of Aston Martin’s low- and zero-emission vehicle strategy. RapidE sees a continuation of the luxury brand’s collaboration with Williams Advanced Engineering, who worked on the original concept.


Based on the forthcoming Rapide AMR concept, RapidE will be a four-door sports car with a similar aesthetic styling to the Rapide S. An all-electric powertrain will replace the six-litre V12 engine, with further performance specifications expected to be released over the coming months.





Jaguar Land Rover has unveiled a new, more powerful, 2.0-litre engine being produced at its state of-the-art factory in Wolverhampton, capable of taking Its cars from 0-62mph in less than six seconds.


The new 300PS Ingenium petrol engine will be available for Jaguar’s XE and XF saloons and the top-selling F-Pace performance SUV models.  The 2.0-litre four-cylinder Ingenium petrol engine produces 400Nm of torque for exceptional acceleration. That’s enough to power the World Car of the Year-winning F-Pace from 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds with fuel economy of 37mpg (7.7 1/100km).


The new engine is manufactured at the £500m Engine Manufacturing Centre on the i54 site in Wolverhampton. It already employs 1,400 people and is currently being expanded to a £1bn, 2 million sq ft, facility.  In the Jaguar XF business saloon the new engine delivers 0-100km/h in 5.6 seconds (0-60mph in 5.5 seconds). With C02 emissions of 163g/km and fuel economy of 40mpg (7.2 1/100km), the new Ingenium powerplant delivers traditional Jaguar performance allied to impressive efficiency. For the XE sports saloon, the new engine delivers even more impressive figures. The 0-100km/h sprint takes only 5.5 seconds (0-60mph in 5.2 seconds), while fuel economy of 41.5mpg (6.9 1/100km) and C02 emissions of 157g/km ensure its strong eco credentials remain Intact.





Jaguar has confirmed that it is to produce a smaller version of its world-wide best-seller, the F-PACE crossover. The Jaguar E-PACE will be unveiled next month.


The compact SUV will be the latest addition to Jaguar’s PACE family of performance SUVs.  The F-PACE has taken the market by storm, quickly outstripping the XE, to become Jaguar’s fastest-selling model of all time. It has also been named World Car of the Year 2017. Such has been its impact that it has helped boost Jaguar’s sales by a staggering 83% since going on sale last year.  The PACE family is set for further expansion next year when the company launches its all electric I-PACE, billed as a family supercar.


The Jaguar E-PACE features sports derived AWD (all wheel drive) technology and all Ingenium line up of petrol and diesel engines, as well as suite of connected technology and safety features.





Efforts made to increase the proportion of British-made parts used in the manufacture of cars in the UK appear to be paying off.  A new report by the Automotive Council – Growing the Automotive Supply Chain – Local Vehicle Content Analysis, shows that 44% of all components used by UK car makers now come from domestic suppliers, compared with 41% in 2015 when the study was last carried out.


The figures suggest more suppliers – many of them based in the West Midlands – are embracing re-shoring and producing parts in British factories rather than in the Far East or Eastern Europe.


British car manufacturing hit a 17-year high in 2016 with more than 1.7 million vehicles made and, since 2009 when the Automotive Council was formed, production has risen more than 72%. Another measure of success is the amount of locally-sourced parts and components used in vehicle manufacturing, because much of the sector’s value added is created at the start of the production process.


In pure financial terms, with regard to output of the UK automotive parts sector, turnover has increased from £9bn at the start of 2011 to £12.7bn today – a 41% uplift.





Ford is to move US production of its new Ford Focus car to China in 2019, despite having faced pressure to keep manufacturing jobs in America. The firm in January scrapped plans to move US production to a new $1.6bn (£1.3bn) plant in Mexico after criticism from Donald Trump.  Ford has seen sales of the Focus model fall in the US, while demand for larger vehicles remains.


The Michigan plant currently producing the Focus will switch to making trucks in 2018, with the same number of hourly workers, the firm said. Ford also said it would invest $900m to retool an SUV plant in Kentucky.


Ford sold about 67,150 Focus cars in the US in the first five months of 2017, down almost 20% from 2016.

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