Sunderland City Council focuses on UK automotive

18 January 2010 #SMMT News

SMMT chief executive Paul Everitt addressed a parliamentary seminar this afternoon hosted by Sunderland City Council to explore how local government can best support economic development and innovation in automotive manufacturing with the growth of low carbon technologies.

Speaking alongside Trevor Mann, senior vice president for manufacturing, Nissan Europe and Michael Hurwitz from the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) in a panel debate entitled “What is the UK’s future in the global automotive industry?”, Mr Everitt spoke on behalf of the UK motor industry about the opportunities available through the shift to a low carbon agenda.


“It is widely recognised that we need to create an economy that is better balanced, where the design, development, and manufacture of goods and services is given greater emphasis and attention,” he said.


In the future the demand for motor vehicles will grow. In places like China, India, Brazil and a wide range of other developing economies personal transport is now becoming available and affordable to the majority.  The demand in these markets, as in Europe, the US and Japan will be for progressively low, lower and ultra-low carbon vehicles.  This change provides new opportunities to those with the capability, technology and determination to succeed.


In the UK we have the advantage of greater workforce flexibility, the location of existing plants, particularly with transport costs and the vulnerability of extended supply chains becoming more of a concern, as well as a hard won reputation for quality and productivity.


It is essential that in the UK we all work together to present the best investment case. That means focusing our resources in the areas that make the biggest impact and are closely linked to the technology roadmaps and product developments being undertaken by the key investors.


In establishing the Automotive Council the UK Government has recognised the value of a long-term partnership with industry. It will provide a focus for the development of a national strategy to help maximise the industrial benefit that the transition to ultra-low carbon vehicles is creating.”


The event, held in the House of Commons, brought together key players from academia, government and industry discussing technological innovation, productivity and skills, the UK’s role in developing a skilled workforce and the role of exports in the UK economy.


For more on the future of the automotive industry, click here.

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