Engineering and Automotive

Engineering and Automotive


The engineering sector is hugely important to the UK economy, making up almost one fifth (19.6%) of GDP. Boasting outstanding research facilities and supply chains, the industry generates an annual turnover of almost £850 billion and is at the forefront of the UK’s economic recovery.

With climate change and environmental concerns at the top of the political agenda, the engineering sector is placed into a position of leadership as the UK makes the transition to a low carbon economy. The dramatic upheaval of infrastructure that the transition will demand in order to meet renewable energy targets will be both a challenge and an opportunity for new growth. However, lack of investment and skills shortages have been identified as the main obstacles threatening the industry’s success. Recruitment programmes are starting to be implemented in order to attract more people into the sector but, with more than half of engineering staff over 45 and only 67% of the c20,000 engineering graduates a year entering the industry, the task will be steep. Addressing the gender imbalance in UK engineering, which has the lowest percentage of female engineers in Europe, is also a priority. With such an important role in leading the UK into low carbon technology, the industry will have to work together collectively with education and the Government.


With around 3 million engines and 1.8 million cars produced every year, the sector amounts to 0.8% of UK GDP. However, despite such success, there are major challenges ahead for the industry. Globally, automobiles still account for 90% of passenger transport needs and 90% of all freight transport, but with South East Asia set to significantly increase their global market share in automotive manufacturing, the UK must strive to increase their technology, production and business performance in order to continue to deliver exceptional customer value and attractive investment opportunities.

Climate change and consideration of CO2 emissions will play a big role in shaping the industry’s future, particularly in terms of the development of the electric automotive sector. Environmental and safety legislation will have a heavy impact on the industry, which is already subject to severe cost-cutting constraints, in both manufacturing and marketing. Therefore, an ability to evolve and exploit new opportunities will be vital. However, the UK Automotive industry is arguably well placed to face such challenges through continuing its strong focus on low-cost and high delivery and through close cooperation with the Government and academia.


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