Monday, 28 May 2012

Phoenix from the ashes: can low carbon vehicles ensure the long-term viability of the West Midlands automotive cluster?

an article by Nigel Berkeley, David Jarvis and Jason Begley published in International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management Volume 12 Number 2 (2012)


Whilst traditional automotive manufacturing regions continue to face tremendous competitive pressures new opportunities are emerging with strong governmental support to encourage the manufacture and adoption of low carbon vehicles (LCVs).

This paper examines such opportunities in the West Midlands region of the UK, where the automotive 'cluster' remains one of the largest in the country and where failure to adapt to changing markets could prove economically and socially damaging. It suggests that the region should build on its strengths at the upper end of the technology spectrum and establish itself as a leader in the area of LCV technologies.

In doing so, it is recognised that a coordinated and holistic approach is required, involving multiple layers of government, backed up by a strong and supportive policy framework. As such, the abolition of regional government in England presents a serious challenge. Whether new local delivery structures can fill the void given the centralisation of power, policy and funding for economic development remains to be seen and casts doubt on the extent to which potential opportunities and benefits presented by low carbon vehicles are fully realised.

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