CEO Update

UK automotive sector needs stability to thrive

21 October 2022 #CEO Update

After yet another week of seismic political events, and with another new Prime Minister expected in the next, UK Automotive continues to reiterate the same message: we need long-term certainty, economic and political stability and a clear plan that will ensure the industry can deliver for Britain amid some of the most challenging business conditions in living memory.

Energy remains the big concern and so considering measures to help deliver energy security and affordability beyond the next six months must be an urgent priority for the next administration. As the industry continues to invest to meet Britain’s highly ambitious zero emission targets, a secure supply of renewable, low-carbon energy is crucial.

There must be a clear plan for the new car market, too, as electric vehicle uptake remains some way below the levels required to meet UK targets. While last month saw Britain’s millionth battery electric car reach the road, the pace of uptake in the UK is slowing and, with just over seven years before the end of sale date for new petrol and diesel models, we need action today that will boost demand.

Earlier this week, SMMT attended the Paris Motor Show, where electric and hydrogen powered vehicles dominated. Moreover, President Macron of France announced that French consumers on low incomes will get improved incentives for purchases of new BEVs, up €1,000 to €7,000 plus a subsidised leasing scheme to buy electric vehicles for €100 per month, to go with other policies supporting consumer uptake of these vehicles.

We need to ensure that the UK has a similar approach, as EVs must be an option for all drivers, not just the most well-off in our society, with investment in incentives and infrastructure to match the massive commitments made by the sector in zero emission technology. Every lever must be pulled in these testing times to encourage motorists to make the switch to an electric vehicle, which will go a long way to driving new jobs and economic growth for the sector and wider UK economy.

In good news this week, SMMT was proud to be presented with a Silver Award under the Ministry of Defence’s Employer Recognition Scheme, for our services supporting ex-armed forces personnel and reservists in gaining new careers in the automotive industry.

The award follows our signing of the Armed Forces Covenant last year and recognises our implementation of new recruitment policies. It also recognises our ongoing support for Mission Automotive, which helps drive engagement between the industry and armed forces community, to help unlock critical talent across all disciplines – and particularly, in the skills we sorely need to help drive our net zero transition.

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