Ratan Tata sets up automotive innovation centre in UK
18 Mar 2015
Tata Motors may not be making big strides, but Tata Group chairman emeritus Ratan Tata has not lost hope and is continuing to strive for optimising research and development possibilities in the automobile sector.
|Ratan Tata, Cyrus Mistry and Prof Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya at the unveiling of the National Automotive Innovation Centre at Warwickshire
Tata, accompanied by his successor Cyrus P Mistry, on Tuesday laid the foundation stone for the National Automotive Innovation Centre (NAIC) in Warwickshire, UK, which is planned as the largest research facility of its kind in Europe.
The NAIC, being set up in collaboration with the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), led by chairman Prof Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, will be operational at the University of Warwick campus in Coventry by 2017.
"This foundation today is an investment in the future, which will bring academia and industry together, revive the skills and capability of various industries to rebuild the prominence of the UK in the area of manufacturing," Tata said. "It will bring tens of thousands of jobs and as we look into the future, I would say that on Tuesday will be a memorable moment," he noted.
The NAIC is funded by Tata Motors and its UK firm Jaguar Land Rover, the University of Warwick and the UK Government's Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
The 33,000-square meter complex will provide space for 1,000 engineers, designers and academics to work together, from apprentices to senior managers.
"One wants to see the UK shine again as the centre for manufacturing. I have some doubt on how many years are left, but if circumstances are right then I look forward to coming here and seeing what we have laid the foundation stone for today - a new centre for excellence and innovation," Ratan Tata said in reference to a project he has been associated with from its very conception a few years ago.
He recalled how he was taken on a journey around the city of Coventry, in central England, long before the Tata Group had considered acquiring the JLR brands from Ford by Prof Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, chairman of the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) and the brains behind the new centre.
He said, "I was flabbergasted with the capability of all that I saw - understated and under the radar. It led me to believe that the UK had this enormous potential of talent, resource, ingenuity that somehow was not being fully utilised. This is long before we ever looked at JLR as a company to acquire.
"When we were approached to be one of the bidders for JLR, there was a renewed interest in something that we could do here. All we did was provided funds because Europe and the UK were in the throes of a recession and a downturn; we had the faith to say that we could work together to rebuild the glory of the brands that we had acquired.
"The people who did it were the people of JLR. It proves that the capability is here to be used and to be developed."
The new high-tech research facilities at the NAIC will include a design and simulation space creating innovative automotive solutions as well as the world's most adaptable and advanced fully immersive drive-in car simulator.