The exports minister has hailed automotive manufacturer Gestamp as a “success story”, adding that he will do what he can to “help the company continue to thrive”.
Newton Aycliffe-based Gestamp specialises in the design, development and manufacture of engineered metal components. It exports about 70 per cent of the products made in its Aycliffe plant to Europe, the US, China and South America.
The company, which has a global headquarters in Spain, has invested heavily in the North East plant, where it employs more than one thousand people, with new technology and manufacturing processes.
Speaking at a visit to the base, Mike Freer MP, who was appointed exports minister in 2021, said: “It was a pleasure to visit Gestamp to see for myself the success story the company is.”
During the visit, Freer was told of the company’s expansion plans, as well as its investment in research and development facilities, and its record on training young local people.
He added: “Being able to discuss in person any exporting issues the company faces was particularly useful. I will be doing what I can to help the company continue to thrive.”
Sedgefield MP Paul Howell said: “The Minister met with both local and international managers and was shown how the business had developed over the years and its incredible global reach.
“They are focused on continuing this and educated the minister on the opportunities they see as their key customers evolve their businesses post covid and also embrace the transition to electric vehicles.”
Gestamp Aycliffe plant director Jonathan Phillips added: “It’s really important for us as a plant to get our message to the government that we’re a very large employer in the local community with more than a thousand people here and we need to secure the future of the plant.
“The automotive industry is changing. We’re seeing lots of changes in technology and processes, and we have battery technology which is being invested in by the government here in the North-East.
“We’re ready to invest but we need to know the government is ready to support our investment.”
He said: “We’ve left the EU and we have the issue of potential tariff changes. But it was reassuring to hear from minister Freer that the government understands our concerns and will be doing everything they can to help us.”