Tata Motors’ European Technical Centre (TMETC), a wholly-owned UK-based subsidiary of India’s Tata Motors, said on Monday it would expand its partnership with WMG (formerly known as Warwick Manufacturing Group), at the University of Warwick. TMETC plans to increase the number of its engineers working on the campus by 40% over the next two years.

Tata Motors has spent over GBP85m in automotive R&D at TMETC since it was established on the campus in 2005 and it already has a team of 240 engineers and researchers working alongside WMG colleagues, with 60 of these hired over the last 12 months due to increased R&D investment. TMETC said it wants to increase the engineering and research force by a further 100 to 340 by 2013.

Tim Leverton, head of advanced and product engineering at Tata Motors, said: “Today’s announcement represents a further demonstration of Tata’s long-term commitment to build and develop R&D facilities here in the UK. TMETC plays a vital role in Tata Motors global R&D network. Tata Motors gets access to world class thoughts, skills and technologies through the TMETC and its collaboration with WMG. The contribution of TMETC and WMG is important to Tata Motors product development”.

TMETC’s engineers work alongside WMG researchers in low carbon technology collaborative R&D programmes. The focus has already started to produce tangible results, for example Tata Motors’ Vista electric vehicle which will be built at a factory in Coventry and will be available to fleet customers in the UK later this year.

The Pixel City Car, unveiled at the Geneva show earlier this month, has also been developed on the WMG campus. Based on the Nano, the Pixel is a concept car aimed at the European market and features a zero turn infinitely variable transmission which gives it a turning circle radius of just 2.6m, making it ideal for driving in dense urban environments.

Nick Fell, director of TMETC, said: “WMG and TMETC are building on five years of successful partnership to further grow TMETC’s presence at the university. We plan to further increase our team on the campus by up to 100 over the next two years, and are discussing establishing test and development facilities here. This shows a clear commitment to build and develop our R&D and facilities here in the UK in collaboration with WMG for the long term.”

The announcement came shortly after research by the Council for Industry and Higher Education which indicated that Britain’s manufacturing sector could be re-energised by a closer collaboration between companies and the science and technology departments at top universities.