Liverpool city region a ‘hotspot’ for EV makers

Global automotive brands come to Liverpool for Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders top level summit amid £2.8bn regional investment into electric vehicle revolution. Tony McDonough reports

Jaguar Land Rover
UK automotive sectior has invested £2.8bn in the North West since 2021


Some of the biggest automotive brands in the world met in Liverpool this week for a top-level summit on the multi-billion pound electric vehicle revolution.

Executives from companies such as Jaguar Land Rover, Stellantis, Ford, Bentley Motors and Leyland trucks met at the Rum Warehouse in the Titanic Hotel for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Regional Forum.

They discussed how manufacturers can benefit from the shift to zero emission mobility and secure new business to drive jobs and growth across the North West.

Since 2021 the automotive sector in Liverpool city region and the North West has invested £2.8bn to help transform factories from making combustion engines to electric vehicles and components.

Jaguar Land Rover’s car assembly plant at Halewood in Merseyside is to go all-electric as part of a £15bn investment by the automotive giant.

JLR currently employs more than 3,500 people at the factory assembling the Range Rover, Evoque and the Land Rover Discovery Sport. By 2025 a new all-electric SUV model will be rolling off the production line at the site.

Also at Halewood, Ford is investing £355m into its factory which has for years made transmissions for petrol and diesel vehicles. It is being converted to make e-drive systems for electric cars.

At Ellesmere Port, Stellantis has converted the former Vauxhall Astra plant to produce electric vans. Production started in September 2023. The factory will produce 50,000 electric vans a year under the Vauxhall, Opel, Peugeot, Citroën and Fiat badges.

It represents a £130m investment in the Cheshire site. The company has also partnered with Peel Ports and Spanish logistics specialist Suardiaz to create a £10m maritime logistics hub on the Mersey at Eastham.


automotive hub
Peel Ports and Suardiaz have opened a £10m automotive hub at Eastham for Stellantis
Vauxhall, Stellantis
Stellantus is producing electric vans at its Halewood factory


New SMMT analysis reveals the importance of the North West to UK automotive manufacturing with firms in the area directly responsible for some 20,000 jobs.

Suppliers, engineering firms, research institutions and many more organisations in adjacent sectors from hospitality to logistics, freight and shipping all depend on the auto sector.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “With the North West’s rich automotive manufacturing heritage and pivotal role in the UK’s zero emission transport revolution, we’re delighted to bring SMMT Regional Forum to one of its many iconic cities.

“Global manufacturers have invested massive sums in the region, transforming their plants to EV production, which is testament to the competitiveness and productivity of the North West.

“No region can rest on its laurels in such a globally competitive environment, however, which is why the SMMT event will focus on the measures needed to attract further investment into the region.”

Representing more than 800 automotive companies in the UK across production, sales, supply chain and aftermarket, SMMT provides a forum for members. It holds major events throughout the year.

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