Blog: Dave LeggettEngine report

Dave Leggett | 23 June 2005

It was another hot day yesterday when I travelled to the SMMT HQ to hear about the engines report that SMMT was launching, with DTI involvement. To be honest, I was hoping for a little more meat in the sandwich - something new perhaps. The report is a summary of what is described as a 'UK success story', with Britain a global centre for engine design, R&D, testing and manufacture. The report - admittedly a decent enough summary of what is going on here on the engines front - just left me wondering: why was it produced if all is going so swimmingly well? Why does the sector need this sort of promotion?

Anyway, I don't want to get too cynical here. Maybe such promotion is part of a wider agenda to promote Britain's auto industry capabilities in these ultra-competitive times with the European centre of gravity appearing to shift eastwards (and there is still that shadow cast by the failure of MG Rover - something that is still being acutely felt in parts of the supplier industry). 

It was certainly interesting though to hear from the DTI's Nick Barter about the philosophy behind the DTI's 'Foresight Vehicle' programme and the need to maintain and develop the technological base in Britain. Sounded like some good work is going on at the engineering level, with big firms working with smaller ones and academia to facilitate some high-level research work.

If Europe's automotive industry centre of gravity is shifting eastwards, with global outsourcing of activities to low-cost locations in Asia also becoming an established trend, it certainly makes sense for Britain to develop the high value added engineering side to its auto industry still further. And, to be fair, that industy-wide expertise and capability has to be marketed too - which is perhaps where reports like this engine study come in. 

If you want to see the SMMT/DTI UK engine industry study - and, as I say, it is a good summary of the sector - you can download it from the SMMT's website via the link below.

SMMT website


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