UK automotive buyers and suppliers need to share more information, study recommends

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
16 March 2015

The opportunity for domestic vendors to supply components to UK vehicle manufacturers is being held back by “information failure”, according to a report.

A study by the Automotive Council found British buyers and sellers were often unaware of each others’ requirements, inhibiting domestic purchasing.

The report recommended: “An automated signposting system would help promote the capabilities of UK suppliers to UK buyers and help fulfil reshoring objectives, while consideration should be given to an event showcasing the UK components industry.”

Other proposals put forward included broadening the scope of meet the buyer events to lower-tier buyers, and also holding forums for specific commodities or in particular regions.

It also suggested more research be carried out into the total landed cost of goods produced in the UK, to highlight the country as a manufacturing location.

According to the study, Growing the automotive supply chain: the opportunity ahead, sales from UK vendors to domestic manufacturers rose by 19 per cent in 2014 compared with the previous year.

The report also identified a further £1 billion of opportunities for UK suppliers in domestic automotive supply chains. In 2011, the council identified £3 billion of work, of which £1 billion has now been filled by British vendors. Engine casings, steering systems and trim are the commodities where the biggest spend lies.

Business secretary Vince Cable said: “Our automotive industry has seen a resurgence in recent years and that success means work of some £1 billion has returned to the UK. This is testament to the strength and capability of our supply chain manufacturers and will no doubt lead to new jobs and further growth.”

Around one third of components in UK-made cars are bought domestically, compared with 90 per cent in the 1970s. The Vauxhall Vivaro van, manufactured in Luton, now contains 40 per cent domestically sourced components, compared with 16 per cent in the previous model.

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