The Government has recently announced plans to open the Advanced Propulsion Centre, a £1bn research facility which will lead the way in the development of low carbon cars. The centre will form part of a long term plan to increase the size and influence of the British car market, which has suffered in recent years from foreign competition and a general decline in the manufacturing sector. The Advanced Propulsion Centre will be backed by £500m of government funds and hopes to attract the same amount from private manufacturers, with Nissan, Ford and BMW already expressing a keen interest in the project. The centre will encourage new design innovations and fast-track the most promising, encouraging collaboration and providing funding where necessary. The Government hopes to provide the necessary environment for low carbon technology to proliferate, making the UK a leader in the fastest growing automotive sector: "The UK automotive sector has been incredibly successful in recent times, with billions of pounds of investment and new jobs. This has been achieved by government and industry working together,î said business secretary, Vince Cable. "With the next generation of vehicles set to be powered by radically different technologies we need to maintain this momentum and act now. Our industrial strategy will ensure we keep on working together to make our automotive industry a world leader." Iain Gray, chief executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said: 'Low carbon vehicles represent a great opportunity for the UK. This competition, with its links to the new Advanced Propulsion Centre, will provide a route to bring innovative ideas to the consumer more quickly. And that has to be good for consumers, industry and the country as a whole.î