CEO Update

An ambitious EU deal will provide the boost Automotive needs

28 February 2020 #CEO Update

Nearly a month after leaving the European Union we now have a clearer idea of where both sides of negotiators are going to position themselves. The UK government’s special focus on automotive in its negotiating mandate is welcome, given the sector’s importance to economic prosperity and jobs across the whole of the country.

The negotiations are going to continue apace over the coming months and there is a lot of ground to cover if both sides are to reach agreement by the end of the year. We hope that the needs of UK Automotive will continue to be a key part of the agenda.

SMMT has been clear all the way through the Brexit discussions: We need an ambitious, world-leading agreement that safeguards UK Automotive and helps it recover its reputation as a great place to invest and do business.

When it comes to our future trading relationship with the European Union, the level playing field begins with having an understanding of the issues involved. This week SMMT led a session in parliament with a number of politicians from both Houses, providing an overview of the forthcoming UK trade negotiations and helping answer questions on everything from tariffs to rules of origin and WTO requirements.

The sector craves stability, however, so the current uncertainty and low confidence can’t go on. This week’s manufacturing figures showed a -2.1% decline in January, with cars built for the domestic market significantly down.

UK car production has now fallen in 19 of the last 20 months. Next month’s Budget is a key opportunity for the government to provide supportive measures that will stimulate the market and help to restore some of the confidence that has been lost in recent times.

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