News in brief: culture, global markets, automotive sector

News in brief
News in brief

Maintaining a company culture abroad is a top challenge

Bringing new people into a company’s culture is one of the biggest challenges for companies considering international expansion, according to a new report by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Among those interviewed for the report there was near-unanimous agreement that maintaining company culture while respecting local customs and cultural differences is a fundamental objective for successful international expansion. By contrast, policymakers may have overstated the importance of a location's level of taxation, as this seems to be far less of a concern in companies' expansion projects than might have been expected.

Editor of the report Martin Koehring said: “It’s clear from our report that once a company’s executive team has identified its scope for overseas expansion, much of the success will rest on comprehensive planning. This includes 'softer' brand-authenticity elements, such as maintaining the company culture and values, that are in some regards more pressing – or perhaps more challenging to master – than 'harder' aspects such as currency hedging, integrating operational systems and ensuring compliance with local regulations.”

UK automotive sector challenged by uncertain global markets

Increasing global instability and the slowing Chinese economy are the biggest threats to the automotive sector, according to new research released from Lloyds Bank Commercial banking.

Driving Innovation, the second report on the English and Welsh automotive manufacturing sector, found that firms believe the global economy is the prevailing challenge to the industry, with 43% of respondents citing it as their top worry for the second year running.

This challenge is underlined by a significant drop in the number of firms expecting to achieve business growth by entering new markets, falling from 68% last year to 48% this year.

Given that 78% of all vehicles made in the UK last year were exported, the results have heightened fears that the global slowdown will drag on the future performance of an industry that has substantially outperformed the broader manufacturing sector since the recession.

Head of SME manufacturing at Lloyds Bank and report co-author David Atkinson said: “The industry is going through a period of intense innovation and we need to ensure that the UK has the right level of skills, and is adept at using the latest technologies, to keep our automotive industry competitive. To help tackle the skills agenda we are contributing £5m over five years to the Lloyds Bank Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centre in Coventry, which will support the next generation of engineers.”