A new survey from accountancy and business advisory firm BDO LLP reveals an overwhelming 77 per cent of the North West automotive industry anticipates growth in 2015.
The national survey, carried out in conjunction with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), looked at the issues that mattered most to the institute’s automotive industry members.
The majority of those interviewed in the North West envisaged up to 10 per cent sales growth in 2015.
Fifteen per cent of respondents are even confident of a 100 per cent increase.
New opportunities are likely to come from export markets, with more than 69 per cent identifying international sales as a key area for growth.
More than half of those seeking a bigger overseas presence also believed this would come from exploring new, as opposed to existing, markets.
Don Bancroft, audit partner and head of manufacturing at BDO LLP in the North West, said: “The optimism of the automotive industry signals strong momentum for what is a key component of the North West’s manufacturing sector.
“International sales are absolutely the guiding principle for growth, and it’s fantastic that regional firms recognise this and have a vision for global expansion.”
More than a quarter of manufacturers in the North West produce commercial vehicles.
The region is home to key brands such as Bentley, Leyland Trucks and Alexander Dennis, which is the UK’s leading bus and coach manufacturer.
These key companies are supported by the thousands of businesses in their supply chain and have buoyed manufacturing to become the North West’s most dominant sector, with a turnover of £31bn.
More than two thirds of automotive firms in the North West told the survey that they continue to re-invest a percentage of their annual turnover on research and development.
However, less than a quarter (23 per cent ) felt the government was currently doing enough to increase entrants into Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects to support the industry.