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Spotlight on Automotive


The automotive sector continues to grow and is Europe's largest investor in R&D, helping to deliver sustainable vehicles for the future. WMG's vision is to deliver high quality collaborative research which enables significant impact across the automotive sector.

Much has changed in the automotive industry. This is, in many ways, the most exciting decade for automotive evolution since the 1920s. In order for a car to compete in the fierce global market it needs to meet not only the changing technological requirements, but also social, legislative and economic needs and the demands of the consumer. This creates challenges from fundamental science, such as battery chemistry and materials development, through to manufacturing, business processes and user experience.

WMG Research Capabilities

We are continually investing in R&D and skills to address the priority automotive areas identified in the government's Strategy for Growth and Sustainability in the UK Automotive Sector. WMG's research addresses the priorities to make vehicles which are:


Intelligent Vehicles


Vehicle Lightweighting



These themes include cross-cutting activities from across WMG's Academic Research Groups>>

WMG Major Programmes

WMG has been collaborating with the automotive sector for over 30 years, leading major multi-partner projects. Current activities include:

  • WMG centre High Value Manufacturing Catapult - WMG is one of seven partners in the High Value Manufacturing Catapult with a focus on the global challenge of low carbon mobility.
  • Energy Innovation Centre - WMG's Energy Innovation Centre comprises a battery materials pilot line, battery characterisation laboratory plus abuse testing chambers and an electric / hybrid powertrain testing facility - the Vehicle Energy Facility. The combined facilities provide a one-stop-shop for the development of new battery chemistries from concept through to fully proven traction batteries within vehicle systems.
  • SME Support Services - WMG's SME team within the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation have worked closely with a number of small and medium sized businesses within the automotive sector to support investment and growth of innovation across the supply chain.

National Automotive Innovation Centre

Inside NAICOur National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC), due to open in 2017, will focus on the long-term multi-disciplinary R&D challenges of smarter, lighter, greener cars. This collaborative £150m project with Jaguar Land Rover and Tata Motors will deliver a long-term strategic plan, creating a new research base which will enhance the UK's capacity and capability in key areas of research. The building will be the largest automotive R&D facility in the UK, providing innovative design studios, collaborative working space and state-of-the-art research facilities.

The UK automotive sector is spearheading progress in advanced propulsion systems, led by the Automotive Council and the new Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). The University is delighted to be at the heart of this through hosting the APC Hub on campus from 2014.

National Automotive Innovation Centre>>

Developing Automotive Sector Skills

The competitiveness of the automotive sector depends on a skilled workforce - now and in the future; this is a key element of delivering the smarter, lighter, greener agenda. There is a growing shortage of graduates in engineering and advanced manufacturing in many global economies. Without a skilled workforce, companies cannot grow, innovate, adopt new technologies and create new products. WMG supports education and training across the entire skills life cycle from school age through to executive level education. WMG Education>>

Key activities to support the automotive industry include:

  • Applied Engineering Programme - WMG's pioneering part-time programme allows students to study for an undergraduate degree in Engineering while in full-time employment. It is a highly flexible programme for employees in engineering and technology-led companies who do not already possess a university degree and are looking to further their engineering skills for their careers.
  • Technical Accreditation Scheme - WMG and its partners (Cranfield, Loughborough, Coventry, Bradford, Southampton and York) have developed a unique portfolio of taught postgraduate courses tailored to the needs of Jaguar Land Rover employees working in the fields of future vehicle technologies and virtual engineering.
  • Professional and Executive Programmes - Our postgraduate programmes provide maximum flexibility, enabling individuals to take single taught modules or build up towards increasing qualification levels, up to MSc level. Modules cover a variety of Technology, Business and Operations subjects and WMG delivers education programmes to over 1,000 professionals in the UK and overseas.
  • WMG Academy for Young Engineers - we have developed two new and exciting learning campuses (Coventry and Solihull) catering for 14-18 year olds from the Coventry, Warwickshire, Solihull and Birmingham areas. We work alongside some of the largest employers in the region to deliver a dynamic curriculum, underpinned by a radical learning and teaching approach designed around the needs of students and employers.