Lloyds Bank announced as Drive West Midlands sponsor

Bank becomes first partner of automotive support programme.

The West Midlands automotive sector received a timely boost today as Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking was announced as the first sponsor of Drive West Midlands.

The Drive West Midlands programme supports the region’s 1,100 automotive supply chain firms looking to grow, and helps attract new automotive investors to the industry.

It will work with Lloyds Bank to help develop a growth-strategy for the sector, and comes following the launch of the bank’s new Tooling Finance product, which supports businesses in the automotive supply chain that need to invest in bespoke tools to complete contracts.

Lloyds Bank will also work with Drive West Midlands to boost competitiveness, introduce new products like Tooling Finance more quickly, and address the sector’s skills shortage, to help future-proof the automotive supply chain.

Additionally, the partnership will see the two organisations exhibiting together at trade events, starting with global event Automechanika at the NEC on 7-9th June.

David Shepherd, Senior Business Development Manager (Automotive) at Marketing Birmingham, which oversees the Drive West Midlands initiative, said: “We’ve worked closely with Lloyds Bank for a number of years because it has an excellent understanding of the world-class automotive sector we have here in the West Midlands.

“Formalising our partnership is a huge boost to the sector and will allow us to focus on some critically important issues for the industry, such as sources of funding. We are pleased to see that Lloyds Bank has recently launched Tooling Finance, where it provides manufacturers with up to 90 per cent of the project cost upfront, with favourable terms, freeing up cash that would otherwise be tied up in machinery.

“We’ll also be looking at ways to help generate a skilled workforce to fill the 22,000 vacancies anticipated in this sector by 2020. The Automotive Apprenticeship Matching Service will be on our stand, 10J12, at Automechanika. The aim of the service is to redirect high quality talent from over-subscribed automotive apprenticeship programmes to other companies within the sector that have similar opportunities. Driving down costs by improving productivity and competitiveness, using new technology to improve products and processes, and improving quality are absolute musts for the automotive sector, especially when you consider the digitally-connected and driverless vehicle opportunities ahead of the industry.”

Andy Moss, Manufacturing Area Director at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking in the Midlands, said: “The automotive industry is crucial to the continued growth of the West Midlands economy, and with recent figures showing a sharp increase in engine production and new car registrations, it is clear there are significant opportunities in the sector. We’re proud to be the first Drive West Midlands partner, and we’re looking forward to working with the team to develop a programme that helps to equip the automotive supply chain with the skills, expertise and funding it needs to fulfil its potential.”

Drive West Midlands is currently liaising with a number of other sponsors to bolster the support it currently provides and to ensure the region remains one of the most attractive locations for automotive investment.