CEO Update

Celebrating Great Women in UK Automotive

17 June 2022 #CEO Update

This week, Autocar’s Great Women in the British Car Industry 2022 awards took place with a record number of entries – congratulations to all the winners. SMMT is delighted to continue its support for this initiative which plays a vital role recognising the exceptional women leading our industry, leaders who will inspire future generations to see automotive as an exciting and rewarding sector in which to work.

The competition gets ever tougher, and the breadth and depth of talent in this year’s list, in every discipline, from design and engineering, to marketing, sales and board room, shows the progress the sector is making. Of course, there’s still a long way to go to address gender and other imbalance in our industry and future success will depend on our ability to attract many more talented people from all backgrounds into our top jobs.

In other, less edifying news, it was disappointing to see the government announce its decision to scrap the Plug-in Car Grant entirely. Whilst we welcome continued support for new electric van, taxi and adapted vehicle buyers, with the sector not yet in recovery, and all manufacturers about to be mandated to sell significantly more EVs than current demand indicates, this decision comes at the worst possible time. Government must use the savings it will make by axing the grant to compel massive investment in the charging network, at rapid pace and at a scale beyond anything so far announced.

The UK is now the only major European market to have zero upfront purchase incentives for electric car buyers yet the most ambitious plans for uptake. This was thrown into sharp relief with SMMT organising, in collaboration with the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) and supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Innovate UK, the UK Pavilion at EVS35 Oslo.

Norway is leading the world in electric car adoption, with more than 65% of new passenger cars sold in 2021 being electric, and the evidence of this transition can readily be seen on the country’s streets. The transition in the UK, however, has to recognise the differences between UK and Norway and support the transformation not just of the market but of UK industry too.

It was reassuring, therefore, to help host some of the UK’s most innovative companies in electric and zero emission vehicle technology at EVS, there to boost trade and investment into the UK automotive sector. The show was incredibly busy, testament to the scale of the opportunities moving to zero emission transport presents, and it was a pleasure to welcome the Prime Minister’s Trade Envoy to Norway and Iceland, Felicity Buchan MP, to the event in support of UK industry.

Electrification will be high on the agenda of SMMT’s International Automotive Summit held on Tuesday 28 June in London. The event, an integral fixture in the UK automotive calendar, already has a packed lineup of speakers, with the latest additions including Daniel Donghui LI, Board Member and CEO , Zhejiang Geely Holding Group, Antonio Leitao, Vice President of Off-Highway, Engine Business & Europe ABO, Cummins Inc; David Roberts, Chairman, Evtec Automotive and Rawdon Glover, UK Managing Director, Jaguar Land Rover.

Tickets are going fast and SMMT Members are eligible for one complimentary ticket per member organisation (subject to availability). For more information please contact the Seventy Events team by email or call 0207 101 3185.

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