The German-owned electronics group Siemens is backing Britain’s car industry with plans for a new manufacturing facility.
`We see Britain as a growing market; our aim is to become a major supplier to all the vehicle manufacturers here,’ said Jurgen Gehrels, Siemens’ chief executive .
The company is also keen to set up a separate R&D facility. `The UK has some excellent engineers and we must tap into this expertise,’ said Gehrels.
The manufacturing facility would make Siemens’ range of automotive systems. Talks have begun with development agencies over a suitable greenfield site.
Siemens is also considering sharing a site at a Rover plant. It enjoys good contacts with Rover and supplies electronics to BMW, Rover’s German parent company.
Rover’s new engine plant at Hams Hall on the outskirts of Birmingham would be a likely candidate. BMW enjoyed generous grants to move there and it has room to spare on the 350-acre site.
Gehrels said that when the plant is built and what it makes `will depend on the UK car market’. He added: `We will begin modestly by bringing more engineering work here but sooner or later we will need a manufacturing site.’
Siemens already has an automotive systems factory at Telford, making plastic engine parts for integrated air fuel systems. Customers include Ford and Jaguar. UK sales are growing at about 30% a year. The company aims to use this product as a basis for selling complete electronic sub-systems to car manufacturers.