UK automotive industry gets welcome boost

18 March 2010

Announcements from Ford and Nissan have given the UK automotive industry a massive boost. While Nissan has revealed plans to build its electric car in Sunderland, Ford has announced six major projects across four UK sites.

The UK Government has agreed to back Ford's proposed £1.5 billion investment over five years for development of a new generation of environmentally friendly engines and vehicle technologies. The guarantee, of £360 million, will back a proposed loan of £450 million, which is being considered by the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Ford's plans will safeguard around 2,800 skilled jobs in the UK at its research and development centre at Dunton in Essex as well as its manufacturing plants in Dagenham, Southampton and Bridgend in South Wales. Ford currently provides 29 per cent of the UK's automotive sector research and development.

News that Nissan will produce their electric car, the LEAF, in Sunderland was welcomed by the UK’s Business Secretary Lord Mandelson.

The UK Government is to commit £20.7 million under the Grant for Business Investment scheme for both the production of the car and the new battery plant at Sunderland. This will support total investment of over £420 million by Nissan in their UK operations.

Nissan has plans to make up to 50,000 vehicles and 60,000 batteries a year which will help to safeguard and create over 550 highly skilled jobs at the Sunderland plant.

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