Sheffield & South Yorkshire

McLaren supercar chassis facility to come to South Yorkshire in £50m deal

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Media captionThe facility will produce carbon fibre chassis for McLaren supercars

Luxury supercar manufacturer McLaren is to build a £50m chassis factory in South Yorkshire - creating 200 jobs.

The "world-class" facility will be built at the University of Sheffield's Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) at Catcliffe in Rotherham.

Construction is due to start "in early 2017", with full production of advanced carbon fibre chassis by 2020.

The move represents a "significant" return of car chassis manufacturing to the north of England, the AMRC said.

McLaren Automotive apprentices will start training immediately to work in what will be called the Composites Technology Centre.

McLaren and the University of Sheffield, which will officially announce the deal on Thursday, said two years of research and development would be undertaken ahead of production.

Professor Keith Ridgway, of the AMRC, said the news was "tremendous" for the city and for wider UK manufacturing.

"It represents a new model that repositions manufacturing in Sheffield, taking it on from coal and steel to high performance components for the automotive as well as the aerospace sector," he said.

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Image caption Rolls Royce already has a jet engine factory at the Advanced Manufacturing Park

McLaren said it had been the first company to recognise the "exceptional properties" of carbon fibre and had built its road and racing cars from the material since 1981.

The first pre-production chassis, to be built using trial processes, is expected in the second half of 2017.

Mike Flewitt, of McLaren Automotive, said the Sheffield facility was a "logical next step" for the supercar manufacturer.

Image copyright MOHD RASFAN/Getty
Image caption Mike Flewitt, of McLaren Automotive, said the Sheffield facility was a "logical next step" for the supercar manufacturer

"We will have access to some of the world's finest composites and materials research capabilities and I look forward to building a world-class facility," he said.

Jill Thomas, of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said it was "absolutely fantastic" and "incredibly good news".

"Let's acknowledge the incredible work by the university, council, and AMRC park and the work they have put in to bring McLaren to this region," she said.

"Creating jobs, but more importantly, the prestige of having a brand like that in the region."

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