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Feature: Preview – SMMT International Automotive Summit 2018

13 June 2018 #CV Sector #Features & Interviews #TNB News

On Tuesday 26 June, the UK’s automotive industry will have its moment in the spotlight, as the SMMT’s tenth International Automotive Summit gets underway in London.

Chris Grayling, MP

With a host of topical subjects, the Summit will bring together more than 350 delegates from across industry, government and the international media for a day-long conference in central London, with high-profile keynote speakers including The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport.

This year, the Summit will be more relevant than ever to SMMT members involved in the CV and Bus and Coach Sectors of the industry, with a number of topics that are directly influenced by commercial vehicles.

Chief among them will be the Route to 2040 panel discussion, which will look into alternative fuel strategies and the growth of electrification.

And it’s the CV world in which the technology that most drivers will come to rely on is being refined. Indeed, commercial vehicles have been first to market with all manner of technological innovations over the years, including power steering, air suspension, catalytic converters and turbocharging.

Electrification, autonomous drive systems and gas power are among the areas in which today’s truck, bus and van manufacturers are leading innovation, and all will be relevant as mobility undergoes one of its biggest transformations in living memory.

One year into the government’s pledge to end the sale of conventional petrol and diesel engine vehicles by 2040, the Summit panel will review the opportunities and challenges for the industry, looking at technology, the changing consumer sentiment and the ideal government-industry relationship required to meet this ambitious target.

Panelists include:

  • Mårten Levenstam, Senior Vice President, Product Strategy and Business Ownership, Volvo Cars
  • David Martell, Founder and Chief Executive, Chargemaster
  • Brian Mormino, Executive Director – Worldwide Environmental Strategy & Compliance, Cummins Inc.
  • Ian Plummer, Manufacturer and Agency Director, Auto Trader
  • Michael Woodward, Partner – UK Automotive Leader, Deloitte

Equally relevant will be the panel discussion on The UK and Europe, which will look at how the industry is navigating a path towards future trading relationships with the EU more than a year after the triggering of Article 50 – something that is bound to have an effect not only on the supply and manufacture of commercial vehicles, buses and coaches, but also the way in which they are used.

With our industry navigating a challenging path through Brexit, our panel will reconvene to bring a perspective on the progress of negotiations and Brexit’s longer-term implications.

Panelists include:

  • Chris Giles, Economics Editor, Financial Times
  • Bronwen Maddox, Director, Institute for Government
  • Jeremy Cape, Partner, Squire Patton Boggs

In a similar vein, The UK – An International Perspective will look into how our trade partners view the UK, both as an opportunity for direct investment and a potential export market. The panel will give insights into the views of governments from Europe and Asia.

Panelists include:

  • Kōji Tsuruoka, Japanese Ambassador to the UK
  • Ma Hui, Minister of the Chinese Embassy in the UK, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the
    United Kingdom
  • A representative from the German Embassy in the UK

Also on the subject of international trade, The Future of Border Logistics will delve into tariffs, border controls and customs procedures for both exporters and importers. The panel of experts will explore the current state of negotiations and likely outcomes from a legal, technical and logistical perspective.

Panelists include:

  • Stephan Freismuth, Customs Manager, BMW
  • Penny Todd, UK Customs Supervisor, Ford Motor Company
  • Richard Ballantyne, Chief Executive, British Ports Association
  • John Keefe, UK Director of Public Affairs, Eurotunnel

SMMT will also use the Summit to launch its 19th UK Automotive Sustainability Report, the longest standing sector sustainability report, which features essential data about all areas of the industry including manufacturing, supply chain, commercial vehicles, buses and coaches, and essential data around vehicle use, road transport and how the industry is on a path to an increasingly important focus on future sustainability.

To find out more about the event, go to or email