CEO Update

Green growth drives UK new car and van markets

09 June 2023 #CEO Update

We started the week strongly with Monday’s figures showing how the new car and van markets are maintaining momentum, recording respectively their 10th and fifth months of growth in May. Once-persistent supply chain issues are easing and the news signifies an industry on the road to recovery, delivering green growth and providing cutting-edge, clean mobility for people and businesses up and down the country.

With 2030 hoving into view, and with it the end of sale of new pure petrol and diesel cars and vans, it is also encouraging to see continued growth in the uptake of electric vehicles. Battery electric cars now account for one in six registrations, while one in every 24 vans joining the roads is zero emission, too. The expected introduction of new regulation in January 2024, however, will mandate that one in five new cars and one in 10 new vans sold must be zero emission – across every brand, meaning that we must drive uptake still further.

The vehicles are ready, the choice is there and the technology is compelling, so further bolstering the confidence of everyone to make the switch, then, is a key priority. This will require every stakeholder to play their part and therefore we need a supportive fiscal framework, simplified planning processes, faster grid connections and the provision of a nationwide network of reliable, affordable and sustainable charge points. The UK will not hit its net zero targets unless we decarbonise road transport so the challenge now is about ensuring delivery.

In other news this week, SMMT hosted our popular Meet the Buyer event at Automechanika Birmingham with 150 meetings taking place. The show itself, including the Automotive Supply Chain Forum and aftermarket halls, was incredibly busy, welcoming more guests than in 2019, creating business networking opportunities and enabling our crucial aftermarket and supply chain members to discuss solutions to some of the big issues they face.

Whilst we await the outcome of the Government consultation on proposed changes to the MOT, we can be sure that the industry – and indeed the driver given the results of a recent SMMT survey – does not want changes to the 3:1:1 timing but we must ensure the test itself keeps pace with the sector’s technological evolution. My thanks go to everyone involved in organising the show, all those who visited and to our sponsors and partners, without which such events could not happen.

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