LONDON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Luxury sports car maker McLaren Automotive said it will create more than 200 jobs in Britain by bringing production of its carbon-fibre chassis from Austria to northern England, a move it said had been initiated long before the Brexit vote.
The firm, which shares facilities and its brand with the Formula One team but is a separate legal entity, will begin building the facility in Sheffield, northern England, early this year with full production due to begin by 2020.
The investment of nearly 50 million pounds ($62 million) will be the firm’s first purpose-built site away from its headquarters in the southern English town of Woking and will save it around 10 million pounds per year once it is fully operational.
The carbon fibre chassis, which helps to keep the top-end sports cars as light as possible, is currently built by a supplier in Austria with the firm saying it now made sense to make them in Britain.
“We have been investigating this for over two years,” a spokesman told Reuters.
“This and the engine are strategically the most important parts of the cars and this is us taking control of the production, supply and quality of this vitally important component,” he said.
The site will be built in cooperation with the University of Sheffield and the local city council.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s comments last month that when Britain leaves the European Union it will also leave the single market, which protects unfettered trade, has prompted renewed concerns from carmakers about potential barriers to trade.
McLaren said building it chassis in Britain will increase the average value of British parts in its models from around 50 percent to 58 percent, depending on the vehicle.
McLaren Automotive, which began building cars only in 2011, has grown rapidly and is aiming to double the number of hand-made models it builds to over 3,000 this year.
The firm currently makes all of its high-end models, which range from just over 120,000 pounds ($150,000) to around 2 million pounds depending on customisation, at its Woking site and exports 92 percent of its output. ($1 = 0.8005 pounds)