Construction has begun on Liberty Engineering Group’s Global Technology Centre in Leamington Spa.
Liberty Engineering is part of Sanjeev Gupta’s global GFG Alliance.
The 50,000 sq ft centre will become the UK hub for Liberty’s R&D and engineering expertise and when fully operational, will house more than 100 highly-skilled technical professionals, including 40 new engineering posts that will be created by the investment.
The flagship centre will support Liberty’s plans to grow its market share in the automotive and other sectors by providing solutions ranging from design and prototyping all the way to volume manufacturing. It will build upon existing expertise in the design and production of various automotive components and systems, while also growing Liberty’s capabilities for alternatively fuelled and autonomous vehicles, ensuring the site remains an important part of the UK automotive supply chain for future generations.
The company, which employs 5,000 in its UK industrial operations, is already a Tier 1 supplier to several major automotive manufacturers domestically and overseas. The centre will also house Liberty’s Vehicle Technologies, 920Engineering (920E) and Shiftec businesses, renowned internationally for their advanced lightweight braking and control systems.
Located off Tachbrook Road, Leamington Spa, the new centre is expected to open in early 2020, a milestone year for automotive manufacturing at the site. Automotive Products Co, a forerunner of the modern business 920E, was founded nearby in 1920 and moved to the current Leamington Spa site in 1927. In its heyday in the early 1980s the operation employed around 9,000 people.
For almost 90 years, the plant has been at the heart of the UK’s automotive industry, manufacturing braking and clutch components for vehicle and motor racing brands including MG, Riley, Daimler, Ford and Jaguar. Products developed here have been on the track of every F1 race since the early 1960s and continue to deliver performance products for motorsport, niche and premium automotive. The business was acquired by Liberty in 2015.
The new Global Technology Centre is being built adjacent to the original plant as part of the third phase of the showpiece Spa Park being developed by Stoford Developments and Blackrock. Benniman Construction Group are the lead contractors for the development.
Executive Chairman of the Liberty House Group and the GFG Alliance, Sanjeev Gupta said: “We believe in Britain’s bright future at the forefront of advanced engineering and manufacturing of next-generation vehicles. This investment will put Liberty at the heart of automotive’s exciting evolution and deliver cutting edge innovations that builds on our status as a world-leading supplier in the sector.”
Anthony Blackwell, Chief Technology Officer for Liberty Engineering, who is leading the development, added:“This facility will help us to play a pivotal role in the next generation of vehicles, symbolically on a site that has had such a prominent and proud history in UK engineering. The Global Technology Centre will help to drive Liberty forward, concentrating our engineering expertise and giving us a new R&D home where we can truly collaborate with clients and develop solutions for the future of mobility.”
A ceremony was held at the site today (25th March) to mark the beginning of construction, attended by Douglas Dawson, Chief Executive of Liberty Industries Group; Anthony Blackwell, Chief Technology Officer of Liberty Engineering; Matt Western, MP for Warwick & Leamington and Ed Peel, Development Manager at Stoford Developments.
Matt Western, Member of Parliament for Warwick & Leamington, said:
“Liberty’s investment in their new Global Technology Centre is something for Leamington and Warwick to celebrate. Importantly, the centre will both create and preserve highly skilled jobs in this area. It is a testament to the region’s heritage and strength as an engineering and automotive hub with world class talent that they have chosen to locate their facility here.”
Dan Gallagher, Joint Managing Director of Stoford Developments said:
“We’re excited to be working with Liberty to deliver this superb new facility, which will create skilled jobs. The company has a long history in the area and this new investment, which will bring forward a new-high-spec building for the 21st century, is testament to the talented workforce here.”