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CV sector delivers again but ambitious targets require long-term stability

27 October 2022 #TNB News

As the UK welcomed its new Prime Minister and Transport Secretary this week, the CV sector is continuing to deliver for Britain, with new SMMT figures showing output increased by 53.6% in September, at 11,979 units – the highest of any month in 2022, and the best September since 2011. The sector has had a tremendous year so far, with year-on-year growth in every month. However, with ambitious targets for zero emission vehicle uptake and the significant investment in infrastructure that must come with it, manufacturers cannot go it alone, and need all stakeholders to play their part. This can only be achieved if we have political stability and a focus on the needs of the sector during the next 18 months.

The rising cost of energy in particular is impacting businesses across the CV sector, with the UK facing some of the highest bills in Europe. As we move into a difficult winter period, with potential uncertainty over energy supply, it is crucial that the UK is a globally competitive, secure location for CV sector investment, which will require further support beyond the next five months, as well as a guaranteed supply of low-carbon energy, to ensure that doing business remains viable in the long term.

Meanwhile, to encourage uptake, operators must continue to have an economical case to invest in ZEVs and the advantages they bring, including tax benefits and charge exemptions. However, with only seven years left until the end of sale of ICE vans, we need businesses to start making the switch sooner rather than later, requiring attractive incentives – as well as suitable charging infrastructure, which SMMT made clear in its electric van plan earlier this year.

Infrastructure for the HGV sector needs to be high on the agenda too, with charging and hydrogen refuelling stations continuing to be the top issues cited SMMT members I’m meeting with as they look to deliver on the UK’s ambitious green targets.

SMMT will continue to support its members on this transition, and Corporate Social Responsibility has an important role to play in the commercial as well as social impact of a business. SMMT is leading by example, having been honoured with a Silver Award by the MoD’s Defence Employer Recognition Scheme. The award is in recognition of SMMT’s support for the employment of reservists and ex-armed forces personnel and reflects its work with the Mission Automotive initiative – part-funded by the SMMT Charitable Trust Fund – which is helping to retrain ex-forces talent and placing service leavers into jobs.

CSR should be at the heart of every business’s strategy with one aim being to recruit from a wider talent pool, as it is proven that those doing so are best placed to succeed, with a diverse range of talents, backgrounds and experiences.

I’m looking forward to engaging with more SMMT members at our Meet The Buyer event next week, which helps buyers to network with suppliers that meet the specific needs of their purchasing cycle. This event is always extremely popular, so please get in touch with SMMT Membership if you are interested in being involved in future.

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