Automotive design agency explores Chinese expansion options

Paul Fenner (left) and Paul Atkin, Group Finance Director, Envisage

Midlands-based design and engineering group, Envisage is eyeing fresh international expansion – possibly in China.

The Envisage Group, which is made up of five companies undertaking design, engineering, and niche manufacturing, has opened offices in the US and India in the last 12 months – and is now exploring options for a third location.

The company, based in Coventry, has operations in San Francisco and Pune and is working with Birmingham-based accountancy firm Moore Stephens to look at doing the same in China.

The growth in manufacturers basing production in those territories, combined with Government backed investment in electric vehicles has prompted the decision to look at further expansion.

Bryan Campbell, chairman and founder, said: “We have enjoyed a successful year with business growing in automotive, rail and marine industries. We work with manufacturers of all sizes from niche, high-end automotive firms through to the biggest names in the sector – and the sector is doing very well.

“With China looking to cap its carbon emissions by 2030 and it also becoming the largest market for electric cars – with more than 335,000 registered last year – there is high demand for the skills in design and engineering which we have in abundance.

“A year ago we brought CGI, which produces show-cars for motor manufacturers all over the world, into the group to enhance our client offering and that move has been a success so we feel the time is right to push ahead with the next expansion – and that means looking east.”

It has partnered with Moore Stephens to tap into the company’s international network, which has 626 offices in 108 countries.

As well as assisting with the expansion, Moore Stephens has also helped Envisage with its R&D tax credits.

Paul Fenner, a partner at Moore Stephens’ Birmingham office, said: “Envisage is the perfect example of a company which has used its pedigree in engineering, combined with cutting edge technical ability to drive growth.

“It is a success story for the region, and it is really pleasing to see it expand not only here but also overseas. The cutting-edge of its design is reflected in the repeated R&D claims we have made on its behalf.

“The fact that we can use our network to help them make totally informed decisions around the expansion is also valuable as it just increases market intelligence.”