Britain’s car industry pushes for lending to its suppliers

Britain’s car industry will bring together the country’s biggest lenders and the automotive supply chain on Wednesday in an attempt to boost lending and investment in the sector.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders is hosting its first “meet the funder” event in the automotive heartland of the West Midlands to encourage better understanding of business opportunities for both sides, reports The Telegraph.

Around 125 suppliers and 25 lenders including Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds TSB, Royal Bank of Scotland and Santander will attend the event, as well as smaller banks, venture capitalists, and the British Bankers’ Association.

The automotive supply chain is worth about £4.8bn a year to the British economy according to the SMMT, but many suppliers to the car industry have struggled to access finance, holding back growth.

Paul Everitt, chief executive of the trade body, said: “Improving access to finance is vital for the growth of the UK automotive supply chain and to securing high-value jobs and prosperity for the long term.

“SMMT’s ‘meet the funder’ event is designed to progress relationships and facilitate discussion between banks, non-bank lenders and industry. This will help to build trust and overcome barriers to successful business development.”

Car manufacturers including Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan, Honda, BMW, Ford, Aston Martin and General Motors will also be there to reiterate their commitment to invest in the British automotive industry.

Around £6bn of investment in British manufacturing has been pledged by the industry over the past couple of years.
Mr Everitt said that more than 100 one-to-one meetings would take place at the event in Solihull, and that while deals were unlikely to be signed there and then, relationships would be formed.

“This is a really big step forward. There is still a significant way to go but at least we have got the right people talking about the good business opportunities out there,” he added.