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    UK car production rises again in February

    UK car production rose again in February, and UK commercial vehicle production almost doubled.

    Welcome to this month’s newsletter and I hope that you are all keeping well.

    I would like to begin with some great news regarding our sector. UK car production rose again in February, up 14.6% to 79,907 units, according to the latest figures published last week by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). It was the sixth consecutive month of growth and best February performance since 2021, with nearly all volume manufacturers posting uplifts, driven by output for the domestic market which grew 58.0% to 20,658 units, an increase of 7,585.

    In further good news, UK commercial vehicle (CV) production almost doubled in February, with 12,927 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches leaving factory lines, according to figures published last week by the SMMT. The 98.4% uplift in volume was the best February performance since 2008 and follows a particularly weak February last year as supply chain issues, notably semiconductor shortages, impacted manufacturing output.

    Elsewhere, SMMT’s Meet the Buyer event will be returning for 2024 and will be hosted at the Coventry Building Society Arena for the first time since 2021. The event will match automotive buyers with suppliers to develop meaningful business connections during this key period of recovery and growth. The event will be hosted physically at the CBS Arena on 3 October 2024 (9:30-17:00), Coventry, CV6 6AQ and you can register your interest here

    In other news, you are no doubt already aware that APC’s Advanced Route to Market Demonstrator 3 (ARMD3) competition is now live, where applicants can receive up to £1.5 million of government match-funding and support for fast-start technology demonstrator projects. The application deadline is 1 May so please don’t miss out.

    Back in Liverpool City Region (LCR), the Global Manufacturing Technology Show 2024 has recently announced the manufacturing giants confirmed as founding members of the event’s Steering Group, namely: ARUP, Bionow, CSL Seqirus, DefProc Engineering, Growth Platform, Jaguar Land Rover, Liverpool John Moores University, LYVA Labs, Make UK, Mersey Maritime, MTC, Northern Automotive Alliance, North West Aerospace Alliance, Siemens and SMMT.

    The Steering Group will proactively ensure GMTS 2024 (27-28 November) meets the industry’s need for a solution-led forum in the North of the UK that connects the international manufacturing community to solve problems and determine practical paths to success.

    There’s unprecedented market enthusiasm for an event in the North – an internationally-recognised industry hub.

    ‘Early Bird’ discounted rates expire end-of-April – click here for more information.

    During a number of our recent member roundtable events, many of you have highlighted the key issue around skills shortages across our sector and the wider manufacturing sector.

    With this in mind, we are delighted to be working with the Gatsby Charitable Foundation who are in turn working with the Department for Education to understand how businesses across the Engineering and Manufacturing sector are engaging with T Levels. T Levels are a new qualification for 16 – 19-year olds that have been specifically designed to address the skills concerns of the Engineering and Manufacturing sector and could be the key to unlocking a pipeline for the young talent needed by the industry. Each T Level includes a 45-day industry placement where students spend time in a work environment, built to be flexible and suit the employer, whilst giving the student meaningful industry experience.

    If you’re already hosting placements, or if you don’t know anything at all about T Levels, the Gatsby Charitable Foundation would like to hear from you.  

    You can participate by filling out this short survey:

    We will also be hosting a webinar where you can learn how T-levels might support your business. Please see later in this newsletter for further details.

    Moving on to the membership side, I would like to welcome two new members this month: 

    BCW Engineering – a leading UK specialist in advanced CNC manufacturing and machining solutions, including integrated design for manufacturing capabilities and complete supply chain management.

    The University of Bolton – granted University status in 2005, Bolton now has a global student body of around 11,000 – including all campuses and affiliates – employing over 900 people. The University is based on a modern, compact, town-centre campus and its teaching quality has consistently won the highest rankings possible from the Government’s quality control agency.

    We will hear more from them in the coming months.

    In other Member news, BAC Co-Founder and Design Director Ian Briggs paid a visit to Jay Leno’s Garage in Los Angeles to talk about the second generation of Mono supercars, the future of driving, and to take the wheel on a journey through the canyons. 

    Nearly 10 years since his exhilarating first experience behind the wheel of a Mono, find out Jay’s impressions of Mono R, which remains The New Reference in terms of performance, lightweight design and engineering as BAC’s lightest and most powerful expression of Mono to date – full video here

    Elsewhere in this month’s newsletter, you can read about some of the latest developments from a selection of our other members, including AMRC NW, B&FC, BAC, DHL and OMRON.

    Last month we visited the North of England Robotics Innovation Centre (NERIC), the University of Salford’s new multi-million pound facility dedicated to helping businesses grow through automation and robotic technologies – you can read the full event review later in the e-news.

    Dates for your diary – NAA Events / Webinars:

    18 April / 13:00 – 14:00

    NAA Webinar, hosted by Grant Thornton

    “An Industry Outlook for 2024″

    Grant Thornton will review the current market and provide forecasts for new and used vehicle registrations and production figures for 2024, diving deeper into the upstream automotive industry (manufacturers) and determine the trends that are expected to take place in 2024 and then look at the downstream industry (dealers, leasing asset financing) and the complexities that are expected to impact these areas of the automotive industry.

    23 May

    NAA Networking Event, hosted by OMRON UK, RAF Museum Cosford

    Our May networking event will take place on 23rd of May and will be hosted by NAA member, OMRON UK, who will showcase their Flexible Manufacturing Roadshow, which is currently touring various European locations.

    This event will be held at the historic RAF Museum Cosford in the Midlands. Set within one of the main hangars amidst iconic RAF fighter planes, it promises a memorable experience.

    Attendees will have the additional opportunity to explore the museum’s treasures, immersing themselves in the rich heritage of RAF Cosford.

    At the heart of the event are captivating live demonstrations, showcasing cutting-edge technologies typically confined to factory settings due to their scale and complexity. Participants will engage with innovative solutions tailored to meet the evolving demands and challenges of modern manufacturing.

    Free for NAA Members; Charges apply to non-members.

    13 June / 11:00 – 12:00

    NAA Webinar, hosted by Gatsby Charitable Foundation

    The Gatsby Charitable Foundation is working with the Department for Education to understand how businesses across the Engineering and Manufacturing sectors are engaging with T Levels. If you would like to find out more about T Levels and how they can help address the skills shortage and build your talent pipeline, join us on Thursday 13 June, 11am – 12pm.

    19 September / 19:00 – 24:00

    NAA Annual Awards & Networking Dinner

    SAVE THE DATE!!! The NAA Annual Awards & Networking Dinner will take place on Thursday 19September and will be held at Crewe Hall, Cheshire.  We have a special rate for rooms so please contact Zoe for information.  

    If you would like to register for any of the above NAA events and/or webinars, please contact Zoe

    Other Events:


    12 April / 14:30 – 15:45

    Make UK: Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism – (CBAM) – What does it mean?

    Already in force in the EU since October 2023 the Carbon Borders Adjustment Mechanism is starting to require UK businesses to report on carbon within their products which they then export into Europe, this is known as EU CBAM.

    If you are a UK business exporting into businesses in the EU it is likely that you will be asked to report on your Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions for the products that you supply during the initial transitionary period which began on the 1st of October 2023.

    Register here

    Webinar Series

    16 – 23 April / 10:00 – 11:00

    Innovate UK BridgeAI: Transforming supply chains with AI

    Join us for a captivating webinar series delving into AI’s transformative role across key sectors, optimising supply chains for businesses as part of the Innovate UK BridgeAI programme.  

    The first three sessions offer sector-specific insights, covering smart logistics for transport, construction optimisation, and AI’s pivotal role in AgriFood.   

    The grand finale features a panel discussion led by sector experts, sharing insights on AI’s transformative impact and fostering cross-sector collaboration.  

    Who is this series for?

    This series welcomes industry professionals, supply chain managers, and enthusiasts in AgriFood, transport, and construction sectors:  

    • Businesses seeking AI innovation and partnerships.  
    • Experienced AI integrators exploring trends and opportunities.

    Register here


    17 April / 13:30 – 14:30

    Make UK: Cyber Security for Manufacturing

    This webinar will feature guest speakers from the North West Cyber Resilience Centre and Cowbell UK in conjunction with Howden Insurance and will provide essential information on how to protect your business from Cyber attacks and will also consider the growing importance of Cyber Insurance.

    All attendees will also qualify for a free cyber risk overview report for their organisation from Cowbell UK.

    Register here

    Digital Excellence: Revolutionizing Industry Operations

    25 April / 09:30 – 12:30

    Elementary Technology, 4 Airport West, Leeds LS19 7ZA

    Cost: Free

    Transforming your manufacturing floor into a hub of innovation and efficiency. Opex Digital Software & SMART Technologies Interactive Displays are the catalyst for this evolution. Operational Excellence best practice, education and live data dashboards combined with state-of-the-art touchscreens, your workforce will gain a dynamic Lean toolset to streamline processes, optimise workflows, and foster real-time collaboration. From assembly line loom schematics to data analysis dashboards, our processes and displays empower your team to make informed decisions swiftly, driving productivity to new heights. Say hello to a SMARTer, more agile manufacturing operation with Opex Digital Software & SMART Technologies Interactive Displays at the heart of your production processes.

    Each attendee will receive a free certified course for Yellow and Green Belt in Lean management. 

    Full details and registration here

    Future Mobility Asia Exhibition and Summit


    15-17 May

    The SMMT is organising the UK Pavilion at Future Mobility Asia in Bangkok, Thailand this May.

    in addition to the subsidised exhibition space that they are offering, there are numerous activities that they are also including for exhibitors aimed at amplifying your company’s reach and impact and elevating your brand message beyond the exhibition stand.

    Full details here.

    SMMT Regional Forum North West


    Tuesday 4 June

    SMMT Regional Forum provides a platform for discussion on the opportunities and challenges for the automotive industry in the region and regularly attracts 200+ senior automotive delegates, from a wide range of companies including vehicle manufacturers, global and local suppliers.

    This is a must attend event for those looking to network with key contacts within the UK automotive industry.

    The sessions will highlight key industry insights for the region and how companies are responding to the need to develop the UK’s EV capability. 

    Registration for the event is now open and is FREE to SMMT members. You will need your company’s SMMT membership number to register for the event.

    You will be given the option to book a stand when you register online.

    SMMT Member Exhibition Space: £700 + VAT per stand (early bird rate £600 +VAT)

    SMMT Non-Member Exhibition Space: £1,250 + VAT per stand (early bird rate £999 +VAT)

    Full details here.


    Wednesday 4 September & Thursday 5 September 2024

    Book your stand for Cenex Expo 2024
    Cenex Expo (previously known as Cenex-LCV and Cenex-CAM) will continue to be held at UTAC Millbrook on Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th September 2024. In 2023, there were 4,715 attendees, 227 exhibitors and 165 speakers with this year due to be bigger and better – an event not to be missed!
    Sales are now open. You can view the Cenex Expo sales prospectus here. Following the success of last year’s event, demand for exhibition space is already extremely high, so secure your stand now.
    Contact for more information.

    National Manufacturing Day

    Thursday 26 September

    Make UK is spearheading the campaign and is inviting every manufacturing company across the UK to take part in this national day of celebration. The idea is simple – manufacturers just have to invite a section of the local community into their business. Showcasing first-hand the breadth of diverse and well-paid career opportunities on offer to schools, colleges, friends and family, and local job seekers, full details can be found later in the e-news.

    Global Manufacturing Technology Show


    Wednesday 27 November & Thursday 28 November 2024

    A brand-new exhibition and conference, taking place in the northern heart of UK manufacturing.

    The two-day event, at Exhibition Centre Liverpool will connect the manufacturing sector with hundreds of innovative thought-leading companies whose sole purpose is to help them navigate the ever-evolving world of modern manufacturing. Further details can be found here


    We will soon be scheduling Core Tools and IATF16949:2016 training courses – if you have any requirements for these courses, please contact Zoe.

    Finally, if any of your colleagues aren’t already receiving this e-news, and you think it may be of interest to them, please ask them to sign up with Zoe.

    Paul Jones


    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham