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New £70 Million Research Centre Secures 50,000 Jobs Linked to Luxury Car Market

Originally published 4 April 2003

The University of Warwick’s Warwick Manufacturing Group has secured a new £70 million “International Automotive Research Centre” which will focus on supporting the manufacture of premium/luxury products - the key sector for the future of UK engineering.

The new Centre launches on Wednesday 2nd of April 2003 at the University of Warwick’s IMC building with a special briefing for Midlands engineering companies working in the automotive industry. The briefing will be given by PAG head Bob Dover (Chairman and chief executive officer of Jaguar and Land Rover), Nick Paul (Chairman of the Regional Development agency Advantage West Midlands), and Professor Kumar Bhattacharyya (Director of the Warwick Manufacturing Group at the University of Warwick).

The high value premium products market provides many of the best opportunities for UK manufacturing - particularly so in the UK automotive sector which faces an increasingly competitive global market place. However this sector will only continue to succeed if its supplier base continues to meet increasingly exacting demands in technology and craftsmanship. The new centre will put the supply industry at the forefront of its work ensuring that every link in the automotive supply chain has access to the latest technologies and business techniques.

The new Centre swings into action immediately with 20 research projects covering areas such as advanced body joining techniques including laser welding, ultra high strength and sound damped steels, wireless tracking devices, sensor system to links the external environmental conditions with the chassis control systems, voice recognition, new tools to the supply industry, hybrid vehicle technologies, training and skills development for supply industry.

One of the Warwick Manufacturing Group’s key partners in the new Centre will be Premier Automotive Group - Ford Motor Company's premium vehicle business group made up of Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover & Volvo. Just as important will be partnerships with a range of Midlands SMEs that supply automotive companies. In total the new Centre will help secure around 50,000 jobs working in automotive engineering – the vast majority of which will be in the Midlands. The funding for the new Centre comes from regional development agency, Advantage West Midlands and the University of Warwick’s industrial partners.

Premier Automotive Group’s Bob Dover, said: "Warwick Manufacturing Group is one of the invaluable partners delivering not just a centre of excellence for technology transfer, but also the right people - a stream of first rate, outstanding engineers whose skills help keep the industry at the forefront of technology”.

Advantage West Midlands Chairman Nick Paul said: “The West Midlands is the heart of UK manufacturing and Advantage West Midlands wants it to stay that way. That’s why the Agency is investing in the new Research Centre. It is great news for manufacturing in our region. The new centre will further enhance improve skills and technology to ensure supply chain companies stay ahead of the game”.

Professor Kumar Bhattacharyya (Director of WMG) said “Premium products are the key to the prosperity of UK engineering not just in the automotive industry but across the board. This new centre shows that UK luxury car manufacturers and their suppliers are far sighted enough to forge partnerships that not only preserves but builds on their technological edge and this is a model for what should be happening across the whole of UK engineering.”

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council have also agreed to support the work of this new collaboration with PAG. EPSRC’s Chief Executive Professor John O’Reilly said “WMG is further enhancing our long-term investment in new research to support manufacturing industry. We particularly welcome the plans to establish a new 5 year appointment at professorial level to be co-funded by PAG, the University and EPSRC.”

Note for broadcasters:
If you are unable to attend on the launch day VNR style footage of the event and interviews will be broadcast on the new Research TV service via Reuters on 8th April.

The site carrying new job opportunites related to this new development is at

For more information please contact:

Peter Dunn, Press Officer, University of Warwick
Tel: 024 7652 3708 email

Neil Skitt, AWM on 0121 503 3251 OR 07766 470699.

James Andrew, PAG 01926 643270