Dyson has decided to manufacture its new electric cars in Singapore, ending hopes for a site in Britain.
The firm confirmed to staff on Tuesday that the company’s board has ratified the decision to construct its first “advanced automotive manufacturing” facility in the Asian country.
The factory is scheduled for completion in 2020 and is part of a £2.5 billion global investment drive in new technology.
Dyson is aiming to launch its electric vehicles in 2021.
However, the move could prove controversial given that Sir James Dyson, the company’s billionaire chairman and founder, is an outspoken proponent of Brexit.
It also comes at a sensitive time for Britain’s manufacturing sector, with several car makers including Nissan, Ford and Toyota warning about the rising prospects of a “no-deal” EU exit, which would jeopardise their operations in the UK.
Dyson chief executive Jim Rowan said: “The decision of where to make our car is complex, based on supply chains, access to markets, and the availability of the expertise that will help us achieve our ambitions.
“Our existing footprint and team in Singapore, combined with the nation’s significant advanced manufacturing expertise, made it a frontrunner.
“Singapore also offers access to high-growth markets as well as an extensive supply chain and a highly skilled workforce.
“Singapore has a comparatively high cost base, but also great technology expertise and focus. It is therefore the right place to make high quality technology loaded machines, and the right place to make our electric vehicle.”
The firm was keen to stress its commitment to Britain, pointing out that it is investing £200 million in new buildings and testing facilities at its campus at Hullavington Airfield.
The company bought the disused airfield two years ago and has already renovated two hangars at the 517-acre site.
Dyson employs more than 12,000 people across the world, with 4,800 working in the UK.
The company, best known for its vacuum cleaners and other domestic appliances, revealed last year that it has been working on developing an electric vehicle.