November 14, 2018 / 1:51 PM / a month ago

McLaren Automotive opens $65 million English chassis facility

Britain's Prince William, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge look at a carbon firbre tub during a visit to McLaren Automotive's new Composites Technology Centre in Rotherham, Britain November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Andrew Yates/Pool

LONDON (Reuters) - British sports-car maker McLaren Automotive opened a 50-million pound northern English factory on Wednesday where it will make carbon fibre chassis, moving production from Austria in a decision initiated before Brexit.

McLaren, which will build around 4,500 top-end models at its factory in the southern English town of Woking this year, hopes to create more than 200 jobs when the new site in Sheffield reaches full production from 2020.

Chief Executive Mike Flewitt told Reuters that bringing output closer to the firm’s car plant was one of several factors behind the move.

“Taking control of that technology was really of key importance, automating it to enable us to have control of costs, bringing costs down (were) all very important contributors to the decision-making,” he said.

“There’s always a benefit in shortening supply chains... It’s a much shorter route from Sheffield to Woking than from Austria to Woking.”

The move will take the level of British-sourced components in a McLaren to around 58 percent, a factor which could become more important depending on post-Brexit trading terms and whether EU and British parts can continue to be counted together.

McLaren, which is best known for its Formula One team, began building sports cars for sale in 2011.

Reporting by Costas Pitas; editing by Stephen Addison

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