Key Dates in The Unipart Story


When many people think of Unipart, they recall a company that revolutionised the automotive aftermarket in the 1970s.

A lot has changed since then; Unipart is now a highly diversified company bringing a wide range of benefits to clients in the rail, technology, retail, automotive, financial and public sectors.

Each of our client relationships is unique, but what is common to most is how Unipart enables significant cost reductions, improvements in capacity and customer service, and a level of engagement with employees that delivers real commercial benefits.

Our operations today span three major areas: logistics, manufacturing and consultancy. But across all three, there is a single approach that enables us to deliver more than our clients expect. We call that The Unipart Way.

To understand some of the major events that have helped to shape our Group, please click on the relevant tab below. For more details on many of the events, please click here.

To download our corporate brochure click here.

Join the Unipart way

1987

1987 – Private company

1987 – Private company

Unipart becomes a private company through management buyout with half the company owned by employees and managers

1988

1988 – Mark in Action

1988 – Mark in Action

Launch of Mark in Action programme recognising outstanding personal customer service by employees

1989

1989 – Ten(d) to Zero programme

1989 – Ten(d) to Zero programme

Launch of the Ten(d) to Zero programme enabling Unipart and its suppliers to work in partnership to eliminate waste from the supply chain

1989

1989 – Best Factories Award

1989 – Best Factories Award

Unipart Industries site in Oxford wins Best Factories Award from Management Today

1990

1990 – Launch of Our Contribution Counts Circles

Launch of Our Contribution Counts Circles, which enables all employees to solve problems at their own level

1992

1992 – The Lean Machine opens

Secretary of State, the Rt. Hon. John Patten MP, opens Unipart employee health and fitness centre, The Lean Machine

1993

1993 – Unipart U

1993 – Unipart U

Unipart is first company to set up its own corporate university, the Unipart U.

1993

1993 – Best Factory in Britain award

Unipart’s Coventry manufacturing site wins Best Factory in Britain award by Management Today/Cranfield University.

1994

1994 – Unipart’s silver jubilee

Unipart celebrates the silver jubilee of the Unipart Brand

1994

1994 – John M Neill made Commander of the Order of the British Empire

1994 – John M Neill made Commander of the Order of the British Empire

Group Chief Executive John M Neill made Commander of the Order of the British Empire for his 20 years of outstanding service to and leadership in the automotive industry.

1995

1995 – Duke of Edinburgh visits Unipart House

1995 – Duke of Edinburgh visits Unipart House

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh visits Unipart House to see how the recommendations of the Tomorrow’s Company report are being brought to life

1996

1996 – New Chairman of Unipart Group

Lord Sheppard of Didgemere named as Chairman of Unipart Group

1997

1997 – Faculty on the Floor launch

The first ‘Faculty on the Floor’ learning centre is launched at Unipart’s site in Kent

1997

1997 – Unipart opens four new joint venture

Unipart opens four new joint venture factories including Kautex Unipart Ltd and Unipart Eberspacher Exhaust Systems

1997

1997 – 49% share in National Railway Supplies

1997 – 49% share in National Railway Supplies

Unipart acquires Railpart and a 49% share in National Railway Supplies

1997

1997 – The Unipart Way

1997 – The Unipart Way

The Unipart Way is launched

1998

1998 – Unipart supports the Government’s New Deal

Unipart is among the first businesses to support the Government’s New Deal initiative

1999

1999 – Unipart acquires Partco Group

Unipart acquires Partco Group making it the largest supplier of aftermarket parts in Britain

1999

1999 – Vodafone

1999 – Vodafone

Unipart wins Vodafone as a new customer.

2004

2004 – Unipart new clients

2004 – Unipart new clients

Unipart new clients include BskyB, Homebase and Jessops

2006

2006 – Multimillion pound distribution and repair centre

Unipart and Vodafone announce plans to establish a multimillion pound distribution and repair centre at Nuneaton

2007

2007 – launched Gate to Great

2007 – launched Gate to Great

The Gate to Great development framework launched. A core aspect of the Unipart Way, it aims to develop the skills and talents of all employees

2007

2007 – Consultancy work with HMRC

Unipart Expert Practices, the Group’s consultancy arm established. 150 ‘expert practitioners, begin consultancy work with HMRC

2007

2007 – European Supply Chain Excellence Award

Unipart Nuneaton wins the European Supply Chain Excellence Award

2007

2007 – New contracts

New contracts with Habitat UK & Pets at Home.

2008

2008 – New contracts

2008 – New contracts

New contracts with Waterstones and RSPB

2009

2009 – New contracts

New contract with Sainsburys

2010

2010 – New Repair Centre

2010 – New Repair Centre

Unipart opens BskyB Set Top Box Repair Centre

2010

2010 – Wins Platinum status in Business in the Community’s

Unipart wins Platinum status in Business in the Community’s appraisal of corporate responsibility

2011

2011 – Best UK Mobile Repair Centre

2011 – Best UK Mobile Repair Centre

Unipart Nuneaton named as best UK Mobile Repair Centre

2011

2011 – Purpose-built fulfilment centre

Unipart opens moves to purpose-built fulfilment centre in Barnsley for ASOS

2011

2011 – Unipart Automotive sold

Unipart Automotive sold to H2 Equity Partners.

2012

2012 – Renews logistics contract

2012 – Renews logistics contract

Siemens Rail Systems renews logistics contract with Unipart Rail for 10 years

2012

2012 – Unipart Group Chairman and Chief Executive

2012 – Unipart Group Chairman and Chief Executive

John M Neill named Unipart Group Chairman and Chief Executive

2013

2013 – Lord Jones of Birmingham Kt

Lord Jones of Birmingham Kt Appointed Non-Executive Deputy Chairman of Unipart Expert Practices

2013

2013 – Unipart wins ‘best of best’ awards

Unipart wins ‘best of best’ awards for excellence in Health and Safety and Environmental Management

2013

2013 – Unipart Launches Advanced Manufacturing Technology

2013 – Unipart Launches Advanced Manufacturing Technology

Unipart Launches Advanced Manufacturing Technology facility in Coventry creating 80 new jobs

2013

2013 – Bryan Jackson MBE

Bryan Jackson MBE appointed to Unipart Board

2013

2013 – Manufacturing Institute

2013 – Manufacturing Institute

Coventry University and the Unipart Group join forces to develop a new Engineering and Manufacturing Institute

2014

2013 – New manufacturing facility

New manufacturing facility for Kautex Unipart Ltd opens in Coventry

2014

2014 – Toyota in India

Unipart wins additional contract with Toyota in India

2014

2014 – Young jobseekers training

Unipart launches training programme for young jobseekers

2014

2014 – Partnership with University of Huddersfield

Unipart Rail announces partnership with University of Huddersfield

2014

2014 – BiTC 2014 Index

2014 – BiTC 2014 Index

Unipart ranks among top UK companies in BiTC 2014 Index

2014

2014 – Ground breaking five year

Unipart & Chinese car maker Qoros announce ground breaking five year deal

2014

2014 – BiTC Big Tick award

Unipart receives BiTC Big Tick award for Wellbeing and Employee Engagement

2014

2014 – £1m. funding for R&D

Unipart Manufacturing gets £1m. funding for R&D into advanced fuel systems

2014

2014 – Next generation of engineers

Unipart Manufacturing opens its doors to the UK’s next generation of engineers and manufacturers at the Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering.

2014

2014 – Unipart wins a major contract

Unipart wins a major contract with National Grid to train and coach thousands of employees in the UK and US.

2014

2014 – Ground-breaking five year contract

Unipart wins a ground-breaking five year, full-spectrum aftermarket logistics contract with Qoros Automotive Co. Ltd., which is based in Changshu, China.

2014

2014 – Unipart launches Unipart Inspires

Unipart launches a new programme called Unipart Inspires, aimed at equipping young job seekers with skills for work.

2014

2014 – joint venture

Unipart Rail and Lucchini UK announce joint venture

2015

2015 – Kubota chooses Unipart

Kubota chooses Unipart to provide world class distribution centre

2015

2015 – Launche of Unipart Powertrain Applications business

Unipart Manufacturing Group launches Unipart Powertrain Applications business in Coventry

2015

2015 – HSS Hire partners has a version of The Unipart Way

HSS Hire partners with Unipart to run national distribution centre and HSS version of The Unipart Way

2015

2015 – UK Rail industry collaboration award

Unipart Rail wins prestigious UK Rail industry collaboration award

2015

2015 – Best profits since 2005

Unipart announces best profits since 2005

2015

2015 – 5 stars in BiTC Index

Unipart wins highest accolade for corporate responsibility -- 5 stars in BiTC Index

2015

2015 – MetLase

Unipart & Rolls-Royce form joint venture called MetLase

2015

2015 – New logistics centre opens

Unipart Logistics opens new parts distribution centre in Bhiwandi in India

2015

2015 – Seven Swords of Honour

Unipart wins seven swords of honour and three globes of honour from British Safety Council

2015

2015 – Productivity campaign

Unipart launches national productivity campaign in press and online

2015

2015 – Park Signalling ltd

Unipart Rail acquires Park Signalling ltd

2016

2016 – Responsible Business Index

Unipart receives 100% in Responsible Business Index

2016

2016 – The Secretary of State for Business visits MetLase

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Sajid Javid visits MetLase.

2016

2016 – Best in class

Unipart is named ‘best in class’ by Graduates for their leadership programme.

2016

2016 – Responsible Business Awards

Unipart wins the Bupa Wellbeing at Work award at the Business in Community's 2016 Responsible Business Awards.

2016

2016 – Seven-year contract

Unipart Manufacturing wins a seven-year contract to supply engine components for Ford cars being produced in China.

2016

2016 – Princess Royal Training Award

Unipart Group wins a Princess Royal Training Award in recognition of its in-house management training and development programme.

2016

2016 – CBI Director-General visits

CBI Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn visits The Unipart Group headquarters in Oxford to learn about how the firm is unlocking its productivity potential through ‘The Unipart Way’.

2016

2016 – Sword and Globe of Honour awards

Unipart Logistics wins 10 Swords of Honour and five Globes of Honour at the British Safety Council's Sword and Globe of Honour awards.

2016

2016 – Outstanding Achievement

Unipart’s Chairman and Group Chief Executive, John Neill CBE, wins “Outstanding Achievement” Award at the annual Automotive Global Awards.

2017

2017 – Instrumental Ltd

Unipart Rail acquires leading technology company Instrumental Ltd

2017

2017 – Key Fasteners

Unipart Rail acquires Key Fasteners

2017

2017 – Focus and Collaboration Award

Unipart Rail awarded the Customer Focus and Collaboration Award by Siemens Rail Systems at their Supplier Recognition event.

2017

2017 – Awards

Unipart Group receives a number of accolades at the International Safety Awards including a special award for outstanding achievement in health, safety and environmental management and an award for Unipart Rail in the transportation, distribution and storage category.

2017

2017 – Digital Award

Unipart won the ‘Award for Responsible Business in the Digital Age’ at the 2017 Responsible Business Awards.

2017

2017 – 13 Swords of Honour

Unipart achieved a record-breaking 13 Swords of Honour and five Globes of Honour from the British Safety Council.

2018

2018 – Unipart Logistics wins innovation award

2018 – Unipart Logistics wins innovation award

Unipart Logistics received a top award, for innovation at the recent Supply Chain Excellence Awards for the application of digital technology and innovative thinking to create a new reverse logistics solution, for energy and services company Centrica.

2018

2018 – John Neill receives honorary doctorate from Coventry University

2018 – John Neill receives honorary doctorate from Coventry University

John Neill, chairman and group chief executive of Unipart, was presented with an honorary doctorate in business administration in recognition of his significant and longstanding contribution to the automotive and logistics business.

2018

2018 – Sky extends contract

2018 – Sky extends contract

Unipart Logistics signed a five-year contract extension with Sky, Europe’s leading Entertainment Company.