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

Type de publication:

Conference Paper


20ème Colloque International du Gerpisa: 30 Mai 2012 – 1 Juin 2012, Krakow (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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