CEO Update

The future of mobility is a global business

22 November 2019 #CEO Update

This week SMMT joined some of the UK’s leading auto-tech companies in Los Angeles as part of a Department for International Trade delegation to Automobility LA. Its mission was to highlight UK expertise and opportunities, as well as funding, in the development of future mobility solutions, including connected and autonomous vehicles.

With its rich heritage in automotive engineering and the strong collaboration between industry, government and academia, the UK is well placed to become a global leader in the development and deployment of these vehicles – with a forecast £62 billion economic boost by 2030 should we fully embrace the technological shift.

The LA trip kicks off a busy period of international visits for SMMT promoting the UK’s automotive capability abroad, with upcoming missions to China for Automechanika Shanghai, the US for CES 2020 and China again, this time to Beijing, for the EV100 annual conference. The next decade will see dramatic changes across the automotive sector and it’s crucial that UK manufacturers and suppliers are front and centre in this transition, if they are to be successful and compete globally.

Essential to our competitiveness will, of course, be the maintenance of preferential trade conditions with key markets, including the EU and our second most important trading partner – the US. While it was welcome to see the threat of additional trade restrictions on the import of automotive products into the US recede this week, the lack of a clear resolution following the US 232 investigation adds to the ongoing uncertainty facing this sector.

SMMT and the European auto industry strongly reject claims that our automotive businesses, who invest heavily in the US, pose a threat to the US national security. The UK and US have long had a special relationship and a de-escalation of trade tensions is urgently needed to avoid negative consequences for the sector on both sides of the Atlantic.

Despite the current challenges, a celebration of industry achievements in 2019 takes place next week with the 103rd SMMT Annual Dinner in London. Hundreds of industry leaders, stakeholders and the media will attend what is one of the highlights of the year and I look forward to welcoming many of you on the night.

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