It has been a tumultuous year for new car registrations, with many factors conspiring to depress the market at a time when it needs stability. But we have reason to be confident despite the declining registration figures, because the range of new cars available to consumers is more technologically advanced; more compelling than ever before.
If the government can help provide an environment in which consumers can have confidence – both economic and technological – there is every reason to be optimistic. It is now critical that a Brexit deal is secured to boost consumer confidence and provide a stimulus to the new car market as we enter the New Year.
One of the particular frustrations around Brexit and the disruption that it brings is that UK Automotive is on an ambitious path towards the next generation of technologies. Whether it’s alternative propulsion, connected or autonomous cars, there are so many aspects in which the UK can lead the way. We’re excited to be organising SMMT Connected 2019 in April, an event that will look to the future and celebrate the upcoming revolution in mobility, exploring how we can cement the UK’s role at the centre of these innovations.
At the turn of this year, our President, Tony Walker, will step down at the end of his two-year term. We are very grateful to Tony for his dedication in championing the automotive sector and hard work that has ensured that the voice of the industry has been heard. I’m sure you will all join me in thanking him for his support.
We were pleased to announce at the Annual Dinner that Dr George Gillespie, executive vice president of HORIBA Automotive Test Systems, will take over as SMMT’s 81st President on 1 January 2019. The role has a long and prestigious history, and Dr Gillespie’s experience and industry knowledge will be vital as the sector takes on some of the greatest challenges it has ever faced.