Good News on Manufacturing Front

Following hard on the heels of Nissan’s announcement that they will build their new “Leaf” electric car at their plant in Sunderland, comes the news that General Motors have indicated that their factory in Ellesmere Port could be the first production site for their electric car the “Ampera”.

This is by no means a done deal.  GM senior management make the point that Britain’s ambitions to be a centre of electric car production need to be backed up by support for new manufacturers of components, a point which the paper “Produce and Prosper” on this website addresses specifically with its plan (section 9.2) for a chain of “Production Enterprise Centres” (PECs).  

Produce and Prosper also points out (section 2.2) something totally ignored by politicians and journalists alike – that to achieve a serious reduction in fossil fuel consumption, there has to be over a 30 year period something like a doubling of electricity production and its market, irrespective of the means of electricity generation.  The single biggest new market can only be transportation which currently uses about 30% of our total energy consumption from all sources.  This leads directly to electric cars and vans.

PECs are designed to provide physical, financial and manpower resources to nurture expansion in existing companies through process and product improvement, and, where there is a clear-cut market demand for entirely new products, for new companies as well.

The car industry is a major potential field for PECs serving its supply chain, but it is very far from being the only one.  Only recently, the managing owner of JC Bamford, the highly successful manufacturer of earth moving equipment remarked that only one-third of the components of his earth-movers was made in Britain.  Not only is this a massive loss of job opportunities in Britain, but it also heavily qualifies the competitive advantage of devaluing the pound sterling, since the cost in pounds of the foreign bought-in components will rise as the pound falls.  The converse applies of course: a rising pound will reduce input costs.

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