Unipart Manufacturing has secured a seven-year contract to supply engine components for Ford cars being produced in China. The contract will create 40 new jobs in Coventry.

Unipart is now one of only a small number of companies in Europe to produce gasoline fuel rails for Ford and other car manufacturers. The components enable fuel to be injected into the engine under very high pressure to provide greater fuel efficiency and 'cleaner' motoring.

The products are manufactured at the Unipart Powertrain Applications site in Coventry, which employs around 380 people. The facility, which produces one fuel rail every 45 seconds, is an export success story. Around 95% of its output is being shipped to customers in mainland Europe and China.

The new contract will start in 2018 and will result in a production increase of around 50% at the fuel rail facility in Coventry.

An important factor in winning this contract was Unipart’s ability to remove around 15% of the cost from the original design of the fuel rail while maintaining the highest standards of performance and quality.

This was achieved by combining the technology available through Unipart’s Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME), the joint venture with Coventry University, and the productivity benefits achievable through The Unipart Way, Unipart’s proprietary business system for continuous improvement.

Unipart Chairman and Group Chief Executive John Neill explained the significance of the deal:

“China is an important market for our manufacturing business as it’s the largest global market for new car sales with around 21 million being sold and 25 million units being produced.

“Competing on such a global scale requires the highest levels of productivity, use of the most advanced technologies, and the continual development of highly trained, highly engaged people who will go the extra mile for customers.

“One of the key successes across all our businesses worldwide has been our implementation of The Unipart Way. The Unipart Way provides the key to unlocking the creativity of our people in problem solving and continuous improvement to deliver tangible benefits for our customers. It enables our businesses in every sector to reduce cost and increase productivity continually.

“It’s pleasing to see that the combination of The Unipart Way with the advanced technical knowledge that we are developing through research and development at the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, is enabling us to win new contracts and get recognition around the world in terms of quality, technical excellence and precision engineering.“

Unipart Group already carries out a wide range of logistics operations in the Chinese market. The company operates across 13 sites in China (including Beijing and Shanghai) for clients such as Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren and Tesla, and employs more than 330 people in China.