West Midlands still faces Rover fallout

The West Midlands automotive components industry is likely to find itself under more pressure, not less, now the sale of Rover has been completed, an industry partnership has warned. Although Rover’s Longbridge plant is to stay open, the company will need to look for savings and quality improvements on all fronts if it is to […]

The West Midlands automotive components industry is likely to find itself under more pressure, not less, now the sale of Rover has been completed, an industry partnership has warned.

Although Rover’s Longbridge plant is to stay open, the company will need to look for savings and quality improvements on all fronts if it is to succeed.

This means component manufacturers in the region will be facing a knock-on effect of greater global competition, and some may face collapse unless they can make drastic improvements in productivity and quality by becoming truly world class.

This stark warning has come from Accelerate, a programme that provides support, advice and funding to help companies in the industry improve their manufacturing processes.

The programme is run by a partnership which includes leading manufacturers such as Rover, Peugeot, LDV and Jaguar, Training and Enterprise Councils, Business Links, universities and the SMMT Industry Forum.

`Accelerate was launched in 1996 in response to predictions that a third of small and medium sized automotive manufacturers in the West Midlands would be deselected unless something was done to improve competitiveness,’ David Hall, Accelerate manager, said.

`Since then we have helped more than 2,000 companies. But the job is by no means done.’

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