CEO Update

UK’s competitiveness key to production recovery

25 June 2021 #CEO Update

This week saw the release of the latest automotive production data for May, and unsurprisingly the figures continue to look inflated when compared to last year’s near standstill of production lines. Despite the output of cars and engines significantly surpassing 2020 numbers, they remain -58.0% and -47.6% below the five-year pre-pandemic levels for the month. There was some good news however as commercial vehicles bucked the trend with a 2.2% increase on the 2015-2019 May figures.

The recovery of car and, in turn, engine production continues to be stunted by the rising scale of challenges facing the industry, the most notable of which is the global supply shortage of semiconductors.

As such, a recovery will depend on the UK maintaining and enhancing its competitiveness and, therefore, we must ensure the country has a policy framework for vehicle production, the supply chain and the market to make us globally attractive for investment.

Accelerating zero emission car production is part of this package, and while 1 in 5 models made here so far this year is alternatively fuelled, just 1 in 16 have been battery electric. We need, therefore, to drive investment in R&D, battery production and manufacturing competitiveness as well as growing the market through incentives and charging infrastructure availability to deliver the net zero future society demands.

Exactly how we can deliver this transition and the competitiveness of the sector will be the central theme of next week’s SMMT International Automotive Summit 2021 – an event which is always a highlight of the year and which takes place on Tuesday 29 June.

We can announce today that Keith Anderson, Chief Executive, ScottishPower, will be giving a special keynote on the transition that the energy sector is undergoing, and will join an exciting line up of speakers including, Alison Jones, UK Managing Director and Senior Vice President, Stellantis, Thierry Bolloré, Chief Executive Officer, Jaguar Land Rover and Michael Cole, President and Chief Executive, Hyundai Motor Europe.

The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Rt Hon Edward Miliband MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy will also be delivering political keynote speeches.

You can view the full agenda here and for more information on tickets, which are free for members, or to register, please contact our events team via email at

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