Carbon fibre factory investment of £50m will create 200 jobs in Sheffield, showing that the UK is open for business
McLaren Create 200 Jobs
British supercar makers McLaren are creating 200 jobs in Sheffield by moving carbon fibre chassis production from Austria to the UK. The brand new £50m factory is one of the benchmark investments by a carmaker in the UK since the Brexit vote. Nissan has also promised to build new Nissan models at flagship Sunderland plant, while Aston Martin have also come to the party by reconfirming a factory in Wales.
£10m Saving per Annum
The British car-maker wants to be near and to benefit from the expertise of the University of Sheffield’s pioneering advanced materials research, which grew out of the steel industry. This is the first UK base McLaren will have outside Woking. This new composites tech facility will aim to save McLaren £10m a year and open in 2020.
Boeing and Rolls-Royce already work alongside the university’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC). The city of Sheffield has several aerospace suppliers but not much heritage in the UK car industry.
Mike Flewitt, chief executive of McLaren said: “In 1981, McLaren was the first company to recognise the exceptional properties of carbon fibre, and we have designed the highly technical material to be at the heart of every McLaren road and racing car ever since. Creating a facility where we can manufacture our own carbon fibre chassis structures is therefore a logical next step.”
He went on to say: “We evaluated several options to achieve this objective but the opportunity created by the AMRC was compelling. At the AMRC, we will have access to some of the world’s finest composites and materials research capabilities.”
The AMRC is a £15m collaboration between the University of Sheffield and Boeing, established in 2001.
The McLaren Automotive arm is a sister company to the Formula One team and they will be investing £1bn over six years to more than double annual production to 5,000 cars. McLaren’s current cars range in price from £129,000 up to £1m. This new facility is projected to add £100m annually to the local economy by 2028, and this would increase further if McLaren suppliers or partners were to move to the area. It will lift the average percentage (by value) of a McLaren car sourced in the UK by around 8 percentage points from its current level of around 50 per cent, depending on the model. The government will be keen to highlight the move as a victory for its new industrial strategy, but talks have been taking place for two years.