An expansion drive has seen one of the UK's specialist auto suppliers open a state-of-theart facility in the heart of Coventry and create 40 jobs.
IM Kelly, which develops and manufactures high quality leather and textile trim components, has invested over #1 million in purchasing and fitting out a 13,500 sq ft site at the Moorings Business Park.
Forty jobs, the majority being sourced locally, have already been created and more are expected with the prospect of new contracts in the summer.
The move, which has been supported by Accelerate, Advantage West Midlands and Business Link Coventry and Warwickshire, highlights the region's growing shift towards low volume, specialised parts.
Managing director Gary Hughes said: "We had enjoyed such a strong period of growth that we needed to expand out of our head office in Northants.
"Due to the growing demands of the industry, we quickly realised that any second facility would be better located closer to our major customer base.
"The site at the Moorings offered us a prime location within 20 minutes of Aston Martin, Jaguar, Land Rover and a host of first tier customers.
"Being a brand new facility we had the opportunity to optimise our manufacturing production layout, which has been a major benefit."
Mr Hughes said his company was now negotiating on the adjoining unit as part of its continuing expansion plans, providing further facilities to cope with potential new business.
Employing 145 people in total, IM Kelly Automotive has just recorded its best ever year, securing annual sales in excess of #10 million.
Its client base remains predominantly niche and luxury marque manufacturers, with its range of leather, fabric and technical material components supplied direct into Aston Martin's DB9 and Vantage models, Jaguar and Land Rover's range of vehicles and various Toyota models.
Mr Hughes, who led a management buy out of the firm in 2000, said: "You could say it's quite a bold move, especially when you consider that most people would have you believe that manufacturing is collapsing."
Sales director John White said: "With OEMs increasingly asking suppliers to be within an hour's drive of their plant, we genuinely feel that the tide is turning and that the big players are starting to realise the true cost of logistics when they use lower labour cost competitors on the European continent and beyond.
"This investment puts us in a prime position to take advantage of this growing trend and not only to maintain existing partnerships, but explore potential openings in associated industries." ..SUPL: