SMMT celebrates 100 years as the voice of the motor industry

18 July 2002 #SMMT News

Today marks 100 years since the founding of the Society of

Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd, the automotive industry trade association.

Chief executive, Christopher Macgowan was joined by staff and key industry figures

at a reception held at the society’s central London offices to celebrate the


SMMT exists to promote and represent the British motor industry

both in Britain and overseas and was originally set up to oversee the first

ever British Motor Show. Founded on 22 July 1902, SMMT held the first ever show

seven months later at Crystal Palace and from this small beginning now organises

the biennial British International Motor Show sponsored by The Daily Telegraph.

With more than 600 members, covering all areas of the automotive

sector, SMMT has recently represented the industry view on key issues such as

the End of Life Vehicle Directive, UK manufacturing and Block Exemption.

Speaking after the Society’s Annual General Meeting, SMMT

president Mike Baunton, who officially takes office from today, said ‘It

is a tremendous honour to take over the presidency in this, the society’s centenary

year, and at such an important time for the industry. More than ever the automotive

sector needs, through the very effective efforts of the SMMT, a common voice,

so as to respond to the pressures of regulation and economic uncertainty.

‘In the past century the motor vehicle has probably been a

bigger force in developing the world as we now know it than any other single

factor, and we will celebrate that today.’

Speaking at the centenary celebrations Alan Johnson MP,

Industry Minister, said today, ‘The Government greatly values the contribution

the motor industry makes to the national economy and I congratulate the SMMT

on their involvement over the last 100 years.

We are committed to working hard with the SMMT and the industry

to help improve its competitive position, and to promote and maintain the UK

as a world-class base for the automotive sector. I am encouraged that initiatives

like the Automotive Innovation and Growth Team, the SMMT Industry Forum and

the Foresight Vehicle programme are in place to help us meet these goals.’

SMMT chief executive, Christopher Macgowan, said of

the day, ‘SMMT was set up one hundred years ago to organise motor shows so it

is perhaps fitting that in this, our centenary year, we are once again preparing

to wow the crowds with another great international event.

‘The industry has come a long way in 100 years and will go

a long way in the next 100. SMMT will continue to represent the interests of

a sector that is one of the biggest contributors to the economy, employing more

than three quarters of a million people. The truth is that we all take these

products for granted, but I am proud to be a part of such a key industry.’

Note to Editors

  1. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders Ltd was

    founded by Frederick Simms on 2 July 1902.

  2. SMMT now represents more than 600 members across all sectors

    of the UK automotive industry, promoting their interests both at home and


  3. SMMT held it’s first ever Motor Show at Crystal Palace

    in 1903, and the biennial event is now the biggest consumer exhibition in

    the UK. The 2002 British International Motor Show takes place at the NEC,

    Birmingham, between 23 October and 3 November.

  4. Recent SMMT Presidents include:

    2002-2001 Nick Reilly CBE

    2000-2001 John Neill CBE

    1999-2000 Sir Ian Gibson CBE

    1998-1999 Trevor Bonner CBE

    1996-1998 Ian G McAllister CBE

    1995-1996 George Simpson (now Lord Simpson)

    1994-1995 Peter T Ward

    1993-1994 Geoffrey Whalen CBE (now Sir Geoffrey Whalen CBE)

    1991-1993 Colin Hope (now Sir Colin Hope)

    1990-1991 Derek Barron

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