Britain Does It Best: How quality is driving global manufacturers to stick with British suppliers

3 mins read

The UK has a rich history of manufacturing excellence. Today, the country is renowned for its production of high-quality commodities and premium vehicles that rival the output of its EU counterparts. In this article, Mike Bylina, Managing Director at Vestatec, explores the compelling reasons why automotive businesses worldwide are turning to British suppliers to enhance the quality of their products.

A Great British choice

The UK boasts an illustrious heritage of automotive manufacturing, producing some of the most iconic names in the industry including MG, Mini, Jaguar and Land Rover, as well as premium and luxury brands such as Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, McLaren and Bentley.

Although many of these brands are no longer UK-owned, most still fly the flag for ‘Made in the UK’, maintaining manufacturing sites across the country and sourcing components from local businesses. Alongside the obvious supply-chain advantages provided by having suppliers located within driving distance of production facilities, they also benefit from the quality and innovation that is synonymous with British engineering.

The recent emergence of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from East Asia has disrupted the automotive market in the UK, mainland Europe and North America. These upstart brands offer stylish designs at an affordable price, and they have been capturing an increasingly growing share of the automotive market.

In response, premium automotive brands are turning to suppliers that can provide them with distinctive, high-quality components to enhance the driving experience.

Vestatec is one of the businesses that has benefitted from this trend, working with several British and international brands to supply their vehicles with decorative interior trim components that create a truly unique cabin aesthetic. These relationships have evolved in response to the growing demand for specialist manufacturing capabilities and engineering expertise.

One rising method of differentiation is the use of Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) coating. Vestatec’s in-house PVD coating facility uses a cathodic arc chamber, where vaporised metal and measured gas recipes are mixed within a vacuum to create a thin metal film, less than a micron thick, and 100 times thinner than a human hair.

The process creates a unique, decorative finish, which has been likened to jewellery. One of the main benefits of PVD is the range of colours and surface finishes that can be achieved, which aligns perfectly with the desire to create stand-out features within the cabin.

Additionally, the industry is becoming more mindful of the environmental impact of their purchasing habits, and many are now seeking ways to make their vehicles more sustainable as we move towards net-zero targets. PVD is a greener option than traditional coating methods as the process uses no hazardous substances, creates zero waste and coated stainless steel components are 100% recyclable at the end of their life.

Keeping calm and carrying on

The UK's automotive industry has weathered multiple economic storms in recent years, both domestic and global. Our exit from the European Union, Covid-19, issues with the Suez Canal, the semiconductor shortage and the war in Ukraine have placed strains on the UK’s manufacturing industry, presenting a relentless series of challenges.

Like many UK-based suppliers, we know the value of British manufacturing and our supply chain is heavily weighted to UK partners, which insulates us from some of the risks that can result from geo-political instability and other global incidents. Despite the various disruptive events that we’ve seen over the last few years, our production hasn’t slowed down and we’ve continued to deliver products and meet customer demands.

Product excellence

When selecting a supplier to support vehicle production, the quality of the finished product is paramount. UK manufacturers are in a great position to deliver parts that meet the high standards expected by customers, especially on non-commodified components where the focus is on product differentiation, rather than the lowest possible price.

Indeed, recent market trends indicate that more OEMs are choosing UK-based suppliers over lower-cost Far Eastern alternatives. This shift is driven, at least in part, by the desire for greater control over product quality and consistency in production batches.

Vestatec has experienced this first hand. As a leading tiered supplier to some of the world's most renowned luxury and premium vehicle manufacturers, including Bentley, Lamborghini and Cadillac, it is essential that every product leaving our facility meets the highest standards. Led by our in-house Quality Manager, quality assurance is embedded into every member of the team, regardless of their role. It is an integral part of the company ethos, crucial in attracting new business in both the UK and overseas.

The UK's manufacturing sector continues to thrive on a global scale, attracting international businesses looking for specialised, high-quality products. The country's rich heritage, resilience in the face of challenges, and unwavering commitment to product excellence make it an appealing sourcing destination for brands worldwide.

As the automotive market continues to evolve with the transition to electric vehicles and autonomous driving, UK companies must continue their focus on quality and innovation to maintain the country’s position at the forefront of automotive excellence.

Find out for yourself

Quality is at the heart of everything we do at Vestatec which is shown through our work with leading OEMs across a variety of industries to provide PVD coating, etching, forming and assembly of metal.

To find out more about how the Vestatec team can help your business, visit