The automotive industry has been a constant fixture in the West Midlands for decades, and that is still true today, with many of the world's leading car manufacturers having a presence.
At one point, the West Midlands used to be the "Workshop of the World", with Mini and MG Rover leading the way forward for great British car brands, and this strong tradition has continued with the likes of Jaguar Land Rover.
The company recently confirmed that it has committed £600 million to its advanced vehicle manufacturing facilities in the West Midlands, £400 million of which will be invested into the manufacturer’s Castle Bromwich plant on new and upgraded facilities.
This will be ahead of the introduction of the new Jaguar XF, while a cutting-edge aluminium bodyshop will also be built to develop expertise in innovative lightweight materials.
In addition to the investment at Castle Bromwich, Jaguar Land Rover also announced that it will double the size of its Advanced Design and Engineering Centre in Whitley for the creation of innovative new ultra low-emission vehicles.
In addition, the manufacturer is to invest £150 million in the National Automotive Innovations Centre (NAIC) that will open in 2017 and offer a state-of-the-art technology hub for Jaguar Land Rover’s research team and collaborators from both industry and academia.
Dr Ralf Speth, Jaguar Land Rover CEO, said the company continues to demonstrate its "unwavering support" to the British automotive industry through sustained investments in advanced research, technology and innovation, with the West Midlands being central to this.
He added: “This investment, made here in the heartland of our UK business operations, signals the confidence we have in this region to support the creation, engineering and manufacturing of ultra-low emission, premium British products, today and in the future.”
Such is the industry's sustained presence in the region, that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has decided to host its Open Forum in Solihull this autumn.
Staged at Cranmore Park, the event brought together more than 300 delegates for a packed day of presentations, knowledge sharing and discussion.
Due to the size of the event, SMMT has utilised the venue's Platinum suite, which can not only accommodate the hundreds of guests attending, but is also capable of hosting a combination of symposiums, from conferencing to exhibiting to networking.
A big draw for attendees is the excellent networking opportunities with leading senior figures from the automotive industry, and the ability to focus on opportunities in the country's automotive supply chain.
With experts and key decision makers speaking on a variety of industry topics, Cranmore Park will be playing host to a major event in the sector's calendar, where the future of the country's automotive industry could be decided.