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McLaren Automotive investment to supercharge the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District

Published on Thursday, 9th February 2017 in Business and investment news

Rotherham Council welcomes McLaren to Rotherham's world-class Advanced Manufacturing Park.

Business and civic leaders have welcomed supercar producer McLaren Automotive’s move to locate research and production facilities within the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District (AMID) on the Sheffield–Rotherham border as a further boost to the region’s status as a world-leading centre of manufacturing excellence.

The investment, announced at The University of Sheffield’s Factory 2050 today (Thursday 9 February), will generate more than £100m of value added in the economy over the next 10 years.

Creative Sheffield, the business-facing arm of Sheffield City Council, was instrumental in securing McLaren  Automotive’s move to the city, working closely with Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council, University of Sheffield’s AMRC and the Sheffield City Region team to bring the supercar producers on board.

It was confirmed at the launch event that the location for the development will be at Rotherham's Advanced Manufacturing Park, which lies within the AMID.

It also positions key partner the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), which offers the automotive company unrivalled access to world-class research, skills and industry partnerships as a global centre of expertise in lightweight manufacturing and materials development.

The creation of the new McLaren Composites Technology Centre close to Factory 2050 at AMID represents the company’s first purpose-built facility outside of the current McLaren campus. 

Formed through a partnership between McLaren Automotive, the University of Sheffield’s AMRC and Sheffield City Council, the new Composites Technology Centre will create more than 200 jobs through a combined investment of nearly £50 million. 

The target is that the new Centre will deliver cost savings of around £10million when compared to costs of today and £100 million of GVA (gross value added) benefit to the local economy by 2028. 

Opportunities for expansion thereafter create an ambition of doubling that to £200 million. 

The in-sourcing of the manufacture of the carbon fibre chassis also increases the average percentage (by value) of a McLaren car sourced in the UK by around eight per cent from its average of around 50 per cent, depending on model.

McLaren Automotive and the University of Sheffield will deliver a two-year research and development programme, which will lead to the development of a production facility to build its lightweight carbon fibre chassis for its new models from 2020.

In making this investment, McLaren Automotive will join Rolls Royce and other planned aerospace and automotive investors developing their products of the future at AMID.

Councillor Leigh Bramall, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council and Cabinet Member for Business and Economy, said: “This is a tremendous achievement for Sheffield, its people and workforce, and its growing research and development sector.

“It is further proof that AMID is the place for leading manufacturers to come not only for research and development and industrial collaboration, but also for production. 

“This combination of value-adding research and development investment and related production employment is the key to our future economic success.  

“We offer something unique here in Sheffield and Rotherham – a cutting-edge manufacturing base that links our two Universities and leading businesses to create jobs and investment across the Sheffield City Region.

“Sheffield and Rotherham have led the charge to create a place that draws in and develops world-class people and a place where the world's leading companies come to explore new technologies and operating methods and deliver research and technology into the UK's supply and value chains.” 

Rotherham Council’s Cabinet Member for Jobs and the Local Economy Cllr Denise Lelliott said the move was a significant deal for the Advanced Manufacturing Park and further great news for the Sheffield City Region’s economy.

She added: “McLaren joins other global names developing the next generation of advanced engineering and manufacturing technologies and products. These businesses are choosing to come to a place that has a history and future of engineering excellence.

“As we look to the future of manufacturing and the next stage of our economy in Rotherham, the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District project is the standard to which other parts of the country aspire."

Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Automotive said: “The now-iconic McLaren F1 was the world’s first road car to be built with a carbon fibre chassis and every car built more recently by McLaren Automotive has the same. Creating a facility where we can manufacture our own carbon fibre chassis structures is therefore a logical next step. 

“We evaluated several options to achieve this objective but the opportunity created by the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the University of Sheffield was compelling. 

“At the AMRC, we will have access to some of the world’s finest composites and materials research capabilities, and I look forward to building a world-class facility and talented team at the new McLaren Composites Technology Centre.”

President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sheffield, Sir Keith Burnett, said:  “This investment - and the innovation, jobs, training and opportunities it offers - is hugely significant for our region, the North of England and the UK’s global, industrial ambitions. 

“What we’re offering is unrivalled access to world-leading research, development and established partnerships with industry. We also have an exceptional facility that offers degree apprenticeships - meaning we can train our region’s young people with the skills it needs to power the manufacturing workforce of the future.” 

The new McLaren Composites Technology Centre will be a catalyst for innovation-led manufacturing across the Sheffield City Region (SCR) and Northern Powerhouse, attracting new international investors and generating a research and development revolution.

The AMP has already seen a decade of development, propelled by the University of Sheffield’s Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) and a growing cluster of advanced manufacturing and technology firms. 

The AMRC is now expanding the development of world class research facilities on to Sheffield Business Park with the building of Factory 2050 and the 50-acre AMRC 2 campus. The AMID will also encompass the new Advanced Wellbeing Research Centre with Toshiba at the Olympic Legacy Park.

Chair of the Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) Sir Nigel Knowles said: “This is fantastic news for the Sheffield City Region, and proof that our research and manufacturing capabilities are up there with the best in the world. As McLaren themselves have made clear, the chance to be part of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District was compelling not least because of the opportunity to access some of the world’s finest composites and materials research capabilities.

“The announcement today is the culmination of a tremendous amount of partnership working across the public and private sectors and shows that our super-connected city region is a place that lives up to its enviable reputation as a place that is straightforward, practical and business focused. The Sheffield City Region LEP and Combined Authority have provided and will continue to provide considerable support to ensure this investment flourishes.

“McLaren Automotive will be in good company on the AMID, alongside the AMRC, Rolls-Royce, British Steel, Siemens, Forgemasters and others. I expect this to be just the start of much good news for the city region.”

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