SMMT says car manufacturers need to recruit more skilled workers to keep up with demand

The UK's rapidly growing car industry needs more skilled workers to help it deal with growing demand, experts have said.

A report by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that UK car manufacturers have a "bright future", and have enjoyed "unprecedented levels of investment" from overseas firms in the last few years.

It said UK firms had built up a reputation for quality and engineering excellence which has helped them to extend their exports into more than 150 countries.

The report said ongoing advances in technology and low carbon innovations mean there is now a growing demand for skilled engineers.

It added that more must be done to tackle a potential skills shortage and maintain the UK's reputation as one of Europe's most attractive locations for car manufacturers.

Firms which supply car makers should also be "reinvigorated", according to the report.

These firms need the "right mix" of government support and private investment to help them benefit from the UK's increasing output volumes, the SMMT suggested.

Chief executive Paul Everitt said: "With robust global markets and a diverse mix of models produced here, we are more resilient than other countries to eurozone weakness, a key factor in encouraging businesses to invest in the UK."

KPMG, which compiled the report, said almost all of the UK's biggest vehicle manufacturers have announced expansion plans in the last 18 months. Many have revealed plans to produce new models, while others aim to enhance their capacity or boost recruitment levels.

KPMG's head of automotive John Leech said the recent surge of inward investment into the UK automotive industry highlighted a long-term commitment from global players.

He added: "As a result, vehicle production is expected to increase for at least the next three years, in spite of weakening demand from the eurozone."

Commenting on the findings, business minister Michael Fallon said: "This report reinforces the message that investing in the UK auto sector makes good business sense. We have some of the most productive plants in Europe, a highly skilled and flexible workforce and one of the lowest corporation tax rates in Europe."

Copyright Press Association 2012