More jobs on the way as Cab Auto grows

Multi-million pound deals to supply parts to Mini and Renault are pushing Cab Automotive towards a record £40 million turnover and raising hopes of up to 80 new jobs at the Tipton success story.

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The car components manufacturer is targeting the fastest growth in its nine-year history on the back of the UK's surging motor industry.

Cab Automotive makes a range of interior components including seats, arm rests, parcel trays and dashboard consoles at its 200,000 sq ft factory on the Vaughan Trading Estate.

It has now secured £7 million of new contracts to supply parts for the new BMW Mini and the seat foams for the Renault van. This will help the firm push turnover towards the £40m level and increase the 240-strong workforce by 30 per cent.

Working with the Wolverhampton-based Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) over the last year, it has also bought its factory in Tipton, securing its future in the Black Country.

Finance director Richard McCulloch said: "We've gone from £20m in 2012 to a predicted £40m by the end of this year, with plenty of new opportunities in the pipeline. Managing this growth was one thing, but at the same time we were told by our landlord that there was a chance our facility could be sold. The only solution was to buy the land, as that would give us the platform and security to plan for the next decade."

He added: "Working with MAS' Rachel Eade we developed an application to the Regional Growth Fund that saw us successfully secure £1m towards the £4.5m total cost of the purchase. Without the strategic and financial support we received we may have had to look outside the region for our next base, which wouldn't have been ideal from a skills point of view.

"Thankfully, we are here to stay in the Black Country and will hopefully be in a position to create more local jobs shortly."

As part of the expansion, Cab Automotive has spent more than £4m on equipment, a state-of-the-art foam production line, new machines for wrapping BMW Mini arm rests and a new water jet cutter.

News of the company's growth plans have been warmly welcomed . Ninder Johal, vice president of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, said: "It is another good news story for the region and capitalises on the recent growth in the automotive sector."

"It comes after further good news from Jaguar Land Rover about increasing its investment and the number of jobs it is creating. A consequence of this is that the supply chain will benefit, which will lead to increased jobs and a much more favourable environment for the local region."

Councillor Ian Jones, Sandwell Council's head for jobs and economy, added: "It's very good news for CAB Auto, who I know have been making great strides, but it strengthens the position of the engineering base in Tipton and Sandwell."

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The company's parts go to some of the biggest automotive manufacturers in the world, including Jaguar Land Rover, Aston Martin, Nissan, Toyota and McLaren Automotive.

A focus on getting involved in the early stage development of new components has also led to the firm designing and manufacturing a bespoke rear passenger iPad tray for the Bentley Mulsanne.

CAB Auto's Mr McCulloch added: "The automotive sector is continually changing and you have to continue to offer added value and innovation to remain competitive and in a position to bid for new platforms and models.

'The acquisition of our Tipton plant is fantastic news as we have a real centre of excellence here featuring a dedicated paint plant, leather cutting facility, injection moulding, specialist welding and a highly skilled trim department.

"We've worked with MAS for four years now, accessing support on quality, lean manufacturing, leadership training and in the installation of new machinery. The help has been essential and a key driver in our unbelievable growth."

Rachel Eade, automotive sector lead at MAS, has worked with Cab Automotive from the outset. She said: "This is a fantastic story of how an automotive supplier has experienced dramatic expansion, even overcoming the volatility of the sector and the global downturn in 2009.

"Throughout its journey, the management team have tapped into external expertise and support when they needed it. This allowed them to focus on what they do best…produce world class interior components.

"The company is now on the verge of moving from a SME into a larger manufacturer. Importantly, it is staying in the West Midlands, creating skilled jobs and, where possible, sourcing from the local supply chain."

Existing chairman Brian Miles and finance director Richard McCulloch formed Cab Automotive in 2005 out of the demise of MG Rover.

The company created 56 jobs and took over Lear's factory on the Vaughan Trading Estate, starting life supplying up to £3m of components into Jaguar and Land Rover sites across the UK.

It is approaching a decade in business with one eye on a £40m turnover, a vision that will be overseen by new managing director Richard Semmens.

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