CEO Update

Importance of automotive trade cannot be forgotten

30 August 2019 #CEO Update

The latest car production figures released this week by SMMT showed a -10.6% fall in output and the 14th successive month of decline. This downward trend, driven predominantly by weakness in key EU and Asian markets, has now lasted longer than the decline during the 2008 global financial crisis.

The sector’s extraordinary recovery from that recession was driven by our dedicated workforce, engineering excellence and massive investment. Today, Automotive is the UK’s biggest single exporter of goods, accounting for 14.4% of exports and generating more than £100 billion in global trade every year. We deliver an annual £18.6 billion boost to the economy and support hundreds of thousands of jobs. We are among the world’s most productive and innovative industries – and we are ambitious.

UK Automotive has fantastic potential for growth. Indeed, ongoing collaboration between industry and successive governments to create a competitive business environment, combined with a focused trade strategy, could see a 20% uplift in the industry’s global trade value worth some £20 billion, if the sector can maximise its full capacity.

So in the face of strong global headwinds – escalating trade tensions, turbulence in key markets, technological transformation – much is at stake, and maintaining the sector’s competitiveness has never been so important. Political events this week have undoubtedly increased fears that the UK is coming dangerously close to a ‘no deal’ Brexit and we will need a concerted effort by all parties to avoid it.

Industry desperately needs political stability and a continuation of free and frictionless trade to encourage future investment. Our fundamentals remain strong and if the right choices are made and, above all else, an ambitious deal secured, we can get back to the business of building, selling and innovating – and delivering for the economy.

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