Regional Growth Fund supports UK-based car makers

Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover and Lotus are to receive around £15 million in government grants, it has been announced today.

The three car makers were awarded Regional Growth Fund (RGF) grants.

Bentley received £3 million, which it said will safeguard 200 jobs, create new vacancies and fund new engine development. The latter is thought to refer to Bentley's upcoming development of a diesel engine.

Bentley chairman and chief executive Wolfgang Durheimer said: "This is a real boost for Bentley. This grant will help safeguard our (engineering) operations as we look to develop new powertrains which appeal to new markets and new customers."

Lotus boss Dany Bahar said its £10.4m grant would help create around 1000 jobs.

Bahar said the jobs would be created as part of a five to six-year expansion plan. He said the money will fund a second factory and car assembly line at the site for a new car range.

Bahar said: "It was always our intention from the beginning to create jobs in the region, especially in the automotive manufacturing industry in the UK, which was an issue.

"I believe it took a bit of time for the government to understand our plans going forward and the desire to keep the production for such a small car company together.

"It would not have made too much sense to have the mid-engined cars produced here at Hethel and different engined cars somewhere else."

The size of Jaguar Land Rover's funding has not yet been revealed, but it was awarded for new engine plants in Gaydon in Warwickshire and Whitley in Coventry. These are believed to be for four-cylinder units.

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