McLaren are set to open a new £50m plant thanks to the University of Sheffield.
The supercar manufacturer intends to begin full production of an advanced composites technology centre, which will build carbon fibre chassis, by 2020.
Sheffield was chosen because of the University’s AMRC, the Advanced Materials Research Centre, which already works alongside Boeing and Rolls-Royce as a world-leader for advanced machining and materials research.
Professor Keith Ridgway CBE, Executive Dean of the AMRC, said: “The announcements by Boeing and McLaren emphasise that Sheffield is moving on from its traditional steel and coal related industries to make critical products for the aerospace and automotive sectors.”
The deal with McLaren is a major one for Sheffield’s economy, as the automotive industry has been labelled as a key pillar of the UK’s post-Brexit strategy by Theresa May. The plant also aims to bring 200 jobs.
A spokesperson from the Sheffield Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who had voiced concerns about the city’s inability to keep up economically with northern powerhouses like Manchester, said: “There are certain sectors we are top of. We have progressed into an advanced materials producer.
“We are starting to pick up steam in the technology sector. The McLaren deal will help with that. The University have been essential in securing it.”
McLaren currently manufacture their chassis in Austria but have been wanting to bring their production in-house for some time, and this will be the first time they have expanded beyond their headquarters in Woking, Surrey.
Mike Flewitt, Chief Executive of McLaren Automotive, said: “The McLaren F1 was the world’s first road car to be built with a carbon fibre chassis and every car built more recently by McLaren Automotive has the same.
“Creating a facility where we can manufacture our own carbon fibre chassis structures is therefore a logical next step. We evaluated several options to achieve this objective, but this opportunity was compelling.”