Analysis: Will UK-China tensions affect Britain's motor industry?

Midlands-based pressing companies Covpress and UYT have been bought by Yongtai Chemical Group. The UK government’s trade department can’t supply financial figures for Chinese automotive inward investment into the UK, but independent estimates seen by Autocar suggest a figure of around £500m per year and growing.

The trade department does list the number of Chinese investment transactions, which average about 100 per year, the bulk of which, Autocar understands, are of small monetary value in technology companies, many thought to be making BEV components.

“Chinese investment can be a very good thing for automotive technology companies,” said Gane, “but we have to be careful that we don’t hollow out this emerging, new supply chain, resulting in very few tier one suppliers remaining British-controlled.”

The 12 UK bases backed by Chinese firms

1. Changan UK R&D Centre – Birmingham Engine and transmission design, research and development. Employs 200 people

2. LEVC – Ansty, Coventry HQ, engineering and taxi and van manufacture. Production capacity: 20k/yr. Employs 550 people

3. Geely Design – Coventry Advanced and production car design. Employs 100 people

4. MG Motor UK (SAIC) – Marylebone HQ, sales, aftersales and advanced design. Employs 100 people

5. SAIC Motor Technical Centre – Longbridge, Birmingham Engineering. Employs 50 people

6. Nio UK Advanced Engineering Centre – Beabroke Science Park, Oxford Advanced concept engineering and CAE crash testing. Employs 45 people

7. Lotus – Hethel HQ, engineering, design and car manufacture. Production capacity: 5k/yr. Employs 1150 people

8. Lotus – Wellingborough Anodising alloy structures. Employs 50 people

9. Lotus – Norwich Chassis, fabrication and aftersales. Employs 130 people

10. Lotus Engineering – Wellesbourne Concept, powertrain and design/production engineering. Employs 130 people


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