Made in Surrey, sold to the world

Based in Woking, McLaren exports to nearly 30 countries in the world

Based in Woking, McLaren exports to nearly 30 countries in the world - Credit: N/A

From space satellites and supercars and even sweepers for our roads, we manufacture a surprising amount here in Surrey, exporting our goods around the world. Lewis Scott, the export chief for the south-east region of UK Trade & Investment, tells us more – and explains what help is available for fledgling companies hoping to do the same

When most people in the UK think about Surrey, they probably think about stockbrokers and leafy suburbs. I doubt very much indeed that advanced manufacturing and world class engineering feature very highly on their list of Surrey characteristics. It might surprise them to know then that the county in fact boasts a thriving manufacturing sector that exports world-class products around the globe.

As director of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) in the south-east, I’m keen to showcase the fantastic manufacturers already operating in the region as well as encourage more Surrey firms to follow their lead, take advantage of the support offered by UKTI and grab the opportunity to get exporting. This move could see their revenues boosted, new jobs created and their businesses strengthened.

And the range of Surrey manufacturers is impressive.


Space-age Surrey

For one of the best small satellites in the world, look no further than Guildford - where Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL) exports state-of-the-art satellites to 30 countries across the globe – recently securing contracts in Kazakhstan, China and Taiwan. With the support of UKTI, they were able to expand beyond the domestic market, increasing their revenues to £520m and securing jobs in their high-tech Guildford factory.

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Still in Guildford, another dynamic Surrey manufacturer is Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), the UK’s largest bus and coach manufacturer and a business that has in recent years established itself as a powerful new force in the global bus sector. It has major build sites in Scotland, North Yorkshire and in key locations around the world, all of which are supported by the company’s principal chassis manufacturing operation, based at Dennis Way in Guildford.

Just a little further along the road in Dorking, you’ll find another UKTI-supported manufacturer, Johnston Sweepers, who take Surrey’s expertly crafted products to over 120 countries across the world. The firm make road sweepers, both large ones for road cleaning and small ones for airports and shopping arcades. They export them to countries across the globe - from the Middle and Far East to the Russian market - where local governments buy them in their thousands.


World-class supercars

Now we’ve got the roads clean, let me offer you the chance to buy an example of the best automotive engineering in the world... a McLaren P1. Based in Woking, McLaren exports to nearly 30 countries in the world and provide us with our final – and perhaps best known- example of exceptional precision engineering from leafy Surrey. Using advanced Formula 1 Technology, McLaren’s supercars can be found on race tracks and exclusive resorts across the world, from Asia to South America, and are a super-speed testament to Surrey manufacturing.

With UKTI support, this success can be extended to small and mid-sized businesses across the county. We run events, offer market research, escorted trade missions overseas, and one-to-one specialist advice from locally-based international trade advisers.

Recent highlights have included our Exporting for Growth seminar at Mercedes Benz World in Weybridge, featuring expert speakers like Jo Fairley, Co-Founder of Green & Blacks.

We also hosted a ‘Website Optimisation for International Trade’ workshop in Guildford, and in April we hosted our fourth Export Week, with events across the county.

Why not come and join us a future event to find out more...




For more information about UKTI South East and the export events they run in the south-east, call 08452 789600; e-mail: or see




Surrey success stories


Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL), Guildford

“Working with UKTI, we continue to broaden our international reach,” says Steve Young, head of international business for Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd (SSTL). “Today, the vast majority of countries are interested in, or are pursuing, a space programme. For instance, in just 10 years Nigeria has developed a space programme with launched satellites, some of which we developed.

“We continue to maintain contracts and relationships with customers around the world, having won a recent contract in Kazakhstan and with Chinese partners for data worth £100m.

“Our relationship with UKTI has proved absolutely fundamental, not only in entering new markets, but also securing contracts. We are currently pursuing opportunities in new markets such as South America and we are confident we can continue to grow.”


Johnston Sweepers, Dorking

“International trade has been of huge benefit to this company,” says Steve Douglas, product manager at Johnston Sweepers. “People in the UK might not necessarily associate manufacturers like ourselves with Surrey, but across the world our road sweepers are known for their quality and reliability.

“I’m glad that UKTI are ringing the bell for Surrey manufacturers and I look forward to continuing our work with UKTI so we can build our international profile even further in even more markets across the world.”


Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), Guildford

“ADL has grown rapidly in recent years with annual turnover rising from £170m to over £530m in 2013,” says Robert Davey, ADL’s commercial and business development director. “In the process, we have increased our export activities significantly and they now represent 50 per cent of our turnover.

“Guildford remains a critical part of that success story supplying complete vehicle chassis, and kits, to our build partners in Hong Kong, China, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and North America.

“Similarly, the strong partnerships we have struck with UKTI have been central to our rapid growth. We’ve received sound and insightful advice from our trade adviser and benefitted from access to UKTI’s network of buyers and partners, all of which has played an important part in us extending our global footprint and gaining a foot-hold in key markets that may otherwise have proved challenging.”



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