SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes says the continuing powerful performance of the UK car industry is presenting real opportunities for domestic suppliers.

“The UK supply chain is growing,” Hawes told just-auto on the sidelines of this week’s Commercial Vehicle Show in the UK city of Birmingham. “There is a huge amount of interest in the UK, a level of interest probably not there ten years ago.

“First and foremost, it is an opportunity for UK supply chain companies. We [SMMT] do what we can to help companies with Open Forum meeting [s], Meet the Buyers, Advanced Propulsion Centre [as well as Automotive Council] and organise international trade missions to help them export.

“It is definitely trying to build networks and collaborate, because the level of innovation required is still significant.”

Part of that UK supply chain has been severely challenged of late as Tata Steel based in South Wales and which provides metal in part to the British car industry, has now ‘For Sale’ signs hanging at its entrance.

The issue of UK – and European – steelmakers grappling with dumping from abroad has shot to the top of the political agenda of late with irate workers confronting British Business Secretary Sajid Javid outside the vast Port Talbot site.

“Port Talbot in particular is a major supplier to UK automotive,” added Hawes. “We hope [for] a solution to keep it going.”