CEO Update

Summer shutdown? Time for a stock take

10 August 2018 #CEO Update

The feel-good factor from a sun and sport-packed July helped go some way to boost new car registrations last month as demand grew, by an albeit moderate 1.2%. Marking the start of the holiday season, July is typically one of the year’s smaller months so any growth is to be welcomed. However, given that it follows a sizeable decline in 2017, pegging future prospects on this one month should be avoided.

That said, after a lumpy start to the year distorted by VED changes and diesel uncertainty, we should expect to see demand level out over the coming months. And as government’s final acknowledgement of diesel’s role as crucial technology on the road to zero emissions reaches consumers, we’d hope to see some mitigation of the heavy losses sustained to date.

As ever, our message is that we need all of the technologies at our disposal to make the quickest impact on CO2, and to drive air quality improvements. The new WLTP and RDE requirements from September will be crucial, demonstrating that all new low and zero emission technologies, whether Euro 6 diesel and petrol; hybrid or plug-in, do what they say on the tin.

With summer shutdowns, parliamentary recess and the holiday season now upon us, it’s a good time to take stock ahead of what will be a busy September. We continue to impress upon politicians at home and across the channel the importance of a Brexit deal that will allow our sector to prosper. And we continue our efforts to help businesses across the entire spectrum get ready for the challenges – and opportunities – ahead.

In September, SMMT will head to Germany for Automechanika Frankfurt, where UK aftermarket suppliers will be out in force showing their latest innovations on the SMMT-GREAT Britain pavilion. If you’re keen to promote your business to a global audience, there is still limited space available, along with government grants of £1,500 for eligible companies. Contact our international team for more.

Back in the UK, on 10 October, we’ll be in Derby for our Regional Forum Midlands. With seminars highlighting opportunities in the area, as well as insights and guidance on preparing for Brexit, this is a must-attend event for suppliers looking to grow and future-proof their businesses. For full details and to book your place, click here.

Mike Hawes, chief executive, SMMT

Update will now take a short break, returning on 31 August.