CEO Update

One year on and UK Automotive still stands in solidarity with Ukraine

24 February 2023 #CEO Update

Today marks one year since the Russian state’s devastating invasion of Ukraine, an event which shocked the world. The UK automotive industry continues to stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and condemns Russia’s actions.

Manufacturers quickly ceased shipments to Russia last year and have worked relentlessly to support colleagues and suppliers in Ukraine during the conflict. We wholeheartedly back the international community in its work to end the war through all appropriate mechanisms, including trade, as well as supporting every effort to help Ukrainian civilians and businesses. The human cost will always be paramount but there’s no doubt that these atrocities have also affected global industries, including our own.

The suspension of shipments to Russia is reflected in the latest UK car manufacturing figures issued today, accounting for almost all of the decline in exports posted last month. With volumes rising for the UK market, however, overall production starts the year stable, down by just 215 units on January 2022. Contributing factors include structural changes, as well as supply chain shortages still impacting some manufacturers. As these shortages continue to ease across the sector, however, we expect to see a return to growth – and green growth at that.

January’s surge in electrified car output – up by half to take a near record share of production – is yet further evidence of our expertise in manufacturing these new technology vehicles, the majority of which are exported to meet global demand. Zero emission commercial vehicle manufacturing is also on the rise, contributing last month to the best start to a year for the sector in more than a decade. And volumes are expected to grow significantly in 2023 as new electric van models begin production at Ellesmere Port.

It’s clear that automotive manufacturing can drive long-term growth for the low carbon economy, but wholesale industrial transformation requires investment. To attract it, we need a competitive framework and a compelling pitch that promotes the UK internationally.

The forthcoming Budget provides an opportunity to stimulate advanced manufacturing investment and the market – both essential to achieving the UK’s net zero ambitions. Expanding charging infrastructure rollout, in particular, is integral to accelerating uptake of EVs, so this week’s announcement of further LEVI pilot funding to deliver up to 2,400 chargepoints across the country was welcome news and, we hope, just the beginning.

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