Volkswagen has abandoned the railway to bring spare parts from Germany into its giant new UK distribution centre in the Midlands because it is too slow and too expensive.

Instead hundreds of trucks a year will ferry parts for VW, Audi, Skoda and SEAT across Europe and onto British roads.

The move is a big frustration for VW UK which had specifically built its state-of-the-art centre at Dordon at a railhead so it could use trains to ship the cargo.

The company consolidated five separate warehouses into the new facility to reduce costs and improve service to customers.

VW UK spokesman Paul Buckett, speaking at the Detroit show, said: "We deliberately built the distribution centre at a railhead but unfortunately we have discovered that moving things by rail is not as effective as we thought it would be.

"Service parts move very quickly and we cannot afford to have them left on trains for days on end. It is also cheaper to move them by road."

He added that it was taking up to five days to move parts across the continent by rail while it can be done in half that time by trucks which also save around GBP3m a year in costs.

He added: "Moving cargo across three rail systems through Germany, France and England did not prove to be as effective as we had hoped."