Supercar giant McLaren's £50m investment in Rotherham

By Gareth Dennison | 09/02/2017 0 comments

Supercar giant McLaren's £50m investment in Rotherham
Artist's impression of the McLaren composites development

SPORTS car giant McLaren Automotive announced a £50 million development set to create 200 jobs at Rotherham’s Advanced Manufacturing Park.

The supercar producer will open a composites technology facility to develop advanced carbon fibre chassis for its vehicles, it was announced today.

Construction is expected to begin early this year with the first chassis produced before the end of 2017 and full production to start in 2020.

Prof Keith Ridgway, founder of the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre at the industrial park near Catcliffe, said: “This is a tremendous piece of news for the Sheffield City Region and a boost for its future as the UK’s centre for advanced manufacturing.

“McLaren Automotive will be in good company on the AMID, alongside the AMRC, Rolls-Royce, British Steel, Siemens, Forgemasters and others.”

“We will be working with McLaren Automotive on the construction of the carbon fibre chassis and further research, and we are talking with the supply chain. 

“It is our ambition that supply chain companies will start to build factories here to supply the chassis plant.”

The new centre will bring £10 million a year to the local economy, it has been predicted — and future expansion has already been mentioned.

The AMRC Training Centre will start training McLaren apprentices immediately and the University of Sheffield will deliver a two-year research and development project.

Prof Sir Keith Burnett, university president and vice-chancellor, 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.”

McLaren chief executive Mike Flewitt said: “In 1981, McLaren was the first company to recognise the exceptional properties of carbon fibre.

“We have designed the highly-technical material to be at the heart of every McLaren road and racing car ever since.

“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.”

Cllr Leigh Bramall, deputy leader of Sheffield City Council, added: “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.”

Sir Nigel Knowles, chairman of Sheffield City Region Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “As McLaren 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.

“McLaren Automotive will be in good company on the AMID, alongside the AMRC, Rolls-Royce, British Steel, Siemens, Forgemasters and others.”

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