Liberty Vehicle Technologies, part of the global metals and engineering group, Liberty House, will today (Thursday 23rd February) unveil plans to invest £10m in the creation of a centre of excellence at Leamington Spa to accelerate its growth in the automotive sector. The flagship 50,000 square-foot facility, which will open in early 2018, is designed to boost the Group’s technological development firepower and expand and enhance its current manufacturing capability in the advanced auto-components market.
Liberty, which is a Tier 1 supplier to several major vehicle manufacturers, is also announcing today that it has acquired Daventry based vehicle control systems business, Shiftec (now renamed Liberty Shiftec), giving the business access to cutting-edge mechatronics. In addition, the Group will unveil its new hyper-car, “T1 Evo by Liberty”, a high-performance vehicle designed to showcase the engineering strengths of the group. These announcements come on a day of celebrations across Liberty’s Midlands-based engineering businesses, designed to mark both the 25th anniversary of the Group’s formation in 1992 and the formal inauguration of Liberty Pressing Solutions, a 750-worker Coventry-based automotive business acquired by Liberty in January. Following an investment announcement by Liberty directors to guests at Leamington Spa at lunchtime today, Nick Hurd, Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will visit the Group’s Coventry plant this afternoon to hear more about expansion plans for Liberty and other members of the GFG Alliance.
GFG Alliance has already invested more than £500m in the UK over the past 2 years, becoming one of Britain’s largest industrial employers with over 4,000 staff across steel, aluminium, engineering and energy in the UK. GFG Alliance recently announced plans to invest a further £120m at its Fort William facilities in the Scottish Highlands including the construction of an alloy wheels factory next to its aluminium smelter, creating hundreds of highly-skilled jobs, and filling another critical gap in the UK auto supply chain. GFG Alliance pursues a core strategy known as GREENSTEEL, linking low-carbon UK metal production, using recycled material and renewable energy, to advanced downstream engineering, with a key focus on supplying the auto industry with high-value products.
Announcing the latest investment, executive chairman of the Liberty House Group and the GFG Alliance, Sanjeev Gupta said: “Britain has a vibrant vehicle manufacturing industry that made over 1.7million cars and 93,000 commercial vehicles last year. That provides a huge opportunity to grow our own domestic supply chain and provide UK auto producers with local alternatives to the flood of imported components currently used in British vehicles. By creating this centre of excellence in our 25th anniversary year we’re signalling our intent to take a lead in the renaissance of the UK auto-components sector. This gives us a platform for growth and future job creation.”
Speaking ahead of his visit to Liberty Pressing Solutions in Coventry, Minister of State Nick Hurd said: “Through our modern Industrial Strategy we are looking to build on strengths in the automotive sector in the West Midlands, creating high-skilled jobs while making the local economy as competitive as possible. “Liberty’s investment in Covpress and this auto centre of excellence is the type of project our Industrial Strategy will look to support, creating well-paying engineering roles, boosting the UK’s domestic supply chain and delivering cutting edge innovation that builds on our status as a world-leader when it comes to auto.”
The new centre of excellence, to be built next to the current facility at Tachbrook Road, Leamington Spa, will act as a Group-wide development centre, housing a range of key design and manufacturing activity including the “920E by Liberty” braking systems business and its trailblazing integrated electronic light-weight park brake system. Commenting on the Shiftec acquisition Douglas Dawson, chief executive of the Liberty Industries Group said: “The addition of this highly-skilled and dedicated team reinforces the strong capability of our existing engineers and establishes another key milestone on our road map as a vehicle solutions provider.”
The hyper-car “T1 Evo by Liberty” being unveiled today is the next generation of the iconic T1 high-performance vehicle which still holds the original Top Gear track record. Early development of the hyper-car has been undertaken by Liberty’s own engineering team in collaboration with Daventry-based race-car design specialists JRM Group. The new centre of excellence will also house the design and manufacture of the ‘Trillion by Liberty’ range of premium bicycles.