One of the world’s leaders in virtual test-driving technology has opened its first UK office in Solihull.
IPG Automotive UK, which has its HQ in Germany, is now based at the Blythe Valley Innovation Centre which is managed by the University of Warwick Science Park on behalf of Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council in Central Boulevard.
The global company, which has subsidiaries in Japan, China, Korea, USA, Sweden and France as well as four offices in Germany, develops and provides software which gives massive savings in time and costs for automotive companies to test the technology of the next generation of vehicles in the virtual world.
Six members of staff have been recruited in Solihull to be based near its major clients which include Jaguar Land Rover and Ford, and collaborations with Warwick Manufacturing Group and the National Automotive Innovation Centre at the University of Warwick.
Elliot Hemes, managing director of IPG Automotive UK, said the UK subsidiary, which also provides technical support and includes a sales team, was already proving a big success.
“Traditionally, automotive engineering has developed a car around very expensive physical prototypes. We provide the software and expertise to do this more efficiently and robustly by using simulation technology,” he said.
“We decided to open a UK office to provide a better service and faster response for the technical support for our UK customers with locally based engineers.
“Since we have opened the UK office, we have won new contracts and we have an environment to invite people in to chat to us and to showcase the products and services we offer.
“We’re seeing some interesting leads because we are local and we can go and see our customers so much more easily and are getting more business that way.”
Elliot said the Blythe Valley Innovation Centre was ideal for the business’s needs.
He added: “We wanted to provide an exemplary level of service and since our main UK customers were based in the Midlands, it made sense to have an office nearby.
“The reason I picked Blythe Valley Innovation Centre is that I wanted to make the space our own and we have the opportunity to do that with our office.
“Our aim is to increase our staff numbers to ten by spring next year so we also needed to have the flexible space to be able to accommodate that.”
Andy Stewart, centre manager at the Blythe Valley Innovation Centre, which is operated by the University of Warwick Science Park, said IPG Automotive are experts in the field of virtual vehicle development.
“The work of Elliot and his team is fascinating and is vital in developing and testing new automotive vehicles of the future,” he said.
“Their innovative approach is reaping rewards with customers in the UK and our location in Solihull is ideal for meeting their clients who are currently predominantly based in the West Midlands.
“The quality of our offices is often an important factor when we are showing potential businesses around the Innovation Centre and IPG Automotive is also looking to collaborate with other businesses on the site.
“The fact that there are a whole host of business support services available to companies based at the Science Park is a very valuable add-on for firms who choose to base themselves here.”