Dyson to build new electric car in Singapore

Huge plant to be ready from 2020 ahead of the project launch of the new car in 2021

Ben Chapman
Tuesday 23 October 2018 10:01
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Dyson will manufacture its new electric car at a plant in Singapore, it announced on Tuesday.

Founder of the British company James Dyson – one of the highest-profile backers of Brexit – has repeatedly highlighted the potential benefits to UK companies of leaving the EU.

The firm insisted the choice of location was not related to Brexit but had been a “complex” one based on “supply chains, access to markets and the availability of the expertise”.

The huge plant will be ready from 2020 ahead of the project launch of the new car in 2021, Dyson said.

It is designing the technology and building a test track in Wiltshire but said the decision to make the car in Singapore reflected the international nature of its operations.

Dyson does not manufacture its products in the UK and already employs around 1,100 people in Singapore, where it makes electric motors.

Chief executive Jim Rowan said the company had chosen the city state for its “significant advanced manufacturing expertise”.

He said: “Singapore also offers access to high-growth markets as well as an extensive supply chain and a highly skilled workforce.

“Singapore has a comparatively high cost base, but also great technology expertise and focus. It is therefore the right place to make high-quality, technology-loaded machines, and the right place to make our electric vehicle.”

The decision comes after a number of car manufacturers issued warnings over the future of the industry in the UK if Theresa May does not secure a favourable trade deal with the EU before the March deadline.

Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW have all pointed to the threat posed by a no-deal Brexit in recent weeks.

And Philips boss Frans van Houten on Monday became the latest chief executive of a large manufacturing firm to sound the alarm.

“As time passes and there is no solution I get increasingly worried that hereafter frictionless trade between the United Kingdom and European mainland could be at risk,” Mr van Houten told reporters.

Ian Murray, Labour MP and Best for Britain champion, said: “Sir James Dyson was a prominent campaigner for Brexit, unlike most business leaders who recognised the huge risk to Britain’s economy.

“Now his UK-based company has chosen to build its new electric car in Singapore. It’s hardly a vote of confidence in global Britain.

“When even someone who claims there will be a resurgence in British manufacturing after Brexit isn’t prepared to put his money where his mouth is, it raises serious questions about the future of our economy and the impact on jobs and livelihoods as a result of Brexit.”

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