SMMT’s International Automotive Summit has embedded itself as a key date in the UK automotive calendar. Taking place on Tuesday 28 June at the IET in London, the Summit brings together attendees from across the entire industry, including vehicle manufacturers, the supply chain and aftermarket, alongside key government officials, adjacent sectors, the media and other stakeholders and will focus on the vital role automotive plays in the UK economy.
The past six years have provided challenge after challenge for the sector with uncertainty arising from Brexit, the Covid-19 pandemic and the global shortage of semiconductors constraining production and, in turn, deliveries. Most recently we have seen rapidly rising energy and fuel process helping inflation to rise to the highest levels in 40 years, escalating business costs, squeezing household incomes and dampening consumer confidence.
But the industry is, and always has been, resilient. The agenda at the Summit will focus on the ways in which the sector can recover and shift towards an electrified future that changes both the market and manufacturing.
Indeed, many of the event’s keynote speeches and panels will focus on the competitiveness of the industry, how the workforce can be developed and upskilled, how current and future trends in automotive retail and maintenance will affect the delivery of customer services, and how businesses must seize the opportunities arising from an increased focus on sustainability.
With the industry being fundamental to government’s Net Zero ambitions and levelling up agenda, we are pleased to announce that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, will provide some opening remarks and Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Business and Industrial Strategy will provide a keynote speech. Chris Giles, the FT’s Economics Editor, will once again be giving the economic update and we are delighted to welcome a range of top speakers including Laurence Drake, Managing Director of DAF Trucks, who will be one of the key industry speakers, and Oriel Petry, Senior Vice President, Head of Public Affairs at Airbus, who will provide insight into how the aerospace industry is seeking to address some of the same challenges as the automotive sector.
Elsewhere this week, the Government announced plans to make it simpler for businesses to adopt the UKCA markings, the replacement for the European CE markings. SMMT has been working closely with policymakers to develop workable solutions for the introduction of UKCA markings, solutions that will minimise costs, complexity and ensue the sector can still provide essential services to customers. The publication of the new UKCA marking regime reflects this collaboration, in particular the draft measures on spare parts and importer labelling which will help UK companies across the aftermarket and supply chain remain viable and will provide reassurance to motorists that their vehicles will continue to be maintained to the highest standards.
Regulatory and trade issues such as these will undoubtedly feature in discussions at the Summit so, for those who are yet to sign up, more information can be found here.
I look forward to seeing many of you next week.