Automotive is not Wales’s best known sector, but it’s actually one of its more important and successful, with 200 companies turning over more than £3 billion annually.
That includes household-name “Tier 1” suppliers such as Ford and Toyota, both with major operations in Wales. But it doesn’t include the likes of the massive Vauxhall plant in nearby Ellesmere Port. Though the plant is in England, an important proportion of the workforce and many of its crucial supply chain relationships are Welsh.
40 international companies
Nor is automotive Wales a parochial concern. Of the 200 companies in that Welsh automotive supply chain, 40 are international, as are a large proportion of the customers and markets served.
Cutting edge innovation
R&D links with Welsh, UK and international universities are excellent, with the CETICS Centres of Excellence programme giving Welsh automotive an extra competitive edge.
Particular areas of innovation and expertise include advanced materials, alternative fuel technologies, niche vehicle design and development, power electronics and advanced powertrain.
Welsh Government support
Since 2010, the Welsh Government, through the Enterprise Networks fund, has supported a Low Carbon Vehicle Cluster. Not only is Wales at the forefront of hydrogen and other alternative fuel research, there is a developing low carbon infrastructure on the Welsh motorway network.
From chassis and suspension to ergonomics and micro-tooling, the automotive sector is an unsung engine of the Welsh economy.