Tata Motors confirms £30m investment in UK R&D centre

Tata Motors has confirmed a £30m investment in a new British innovation centre, saying it represents long-term commitment to R&D in the UK.

India’s largest car manufacturer will join sister company Jaguar Land Rover and Warwick University’s Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) in creating the £100m National Automotive Innovation Campus (NAIC) in Coventry.

The facility is due to open in 2016 and promises to create a home for over 900 engineers and scientists developing novel technologies to reduce the automotive industry’s dependency on fossil fuels and reduce its CO2 emissions.

‘Our teams in India and in the UK complement each other in academic excellence and product experience, and we see the UK as a global hub for innovative and low carbon automotive technologies, which will benefit our customers,’ said Tata Motors’ head of advanced engineering, Dr Tim Leverton, in a statement.

The company said its subsidiary Tata Motors European Technical Centre (TMETC), which is currently based at WMG on the university campus, would use the NAIC for the research and new vehicle concept development phases of the its new models, expanding its workforce to 350.

The partners are promising the 30,000m2 centre will include powertrain and vehicle engineering laboratories and the latest advanced design, visualisation and rapid prototyping technologies, all housed in an ‘iconic’ new building.

Tata Motors said the NAIC would ‘significantly enhance’ its contribution to future product innovation and development by ‘creating an environment appropriate for the increased quality of output required as well as its contribution to future collaborative R&D in the UK’.

The TMETC director, Nick Fell, said: ‘The decision by Tata Motors to invest in the NAIC has galvanised our teams and will be repaid by our contribution to Tata’s future products, as well as to the automotive R&D scene in the UK.

‘…the NAIC will reinforce its commitment to developing young engineers and apprentices through its recruitment and training programme, closely linked to the WMG Academy for Young Engineers.’

WMG chairman, Prof Lord Bhattacharyya, said: ‘The automotive industry in the UK has seen a recent resurgence, but for the UK to remain internationally competitive we must create urgently a critical mass in research excellence…

‘The NAIC will be an “engine” for economic growth, with wide economic benefit, and sustained growth from the creation of world-leading technologies.’