CEO Update

UK Automotive needs a manifesto made for global success

31 May 2024 #CEO Update

A major transition in the UK’s automotive factories is underway with manufacturers retooling to build the very latest and greenest models. New SMMT figures published this week reflect that journey, with an expected downturn in output volumes as production lines are repurposed and scaled up for next-generation models and technologies – technologies which, with favourable industrial and market conditions, will deliver long-term growth for the sector and the UK.

Decarbonisation demands a slew of investment in greener vehicles, facilities, infrastructure, energy, skills, jobs and trade to name but a few. Industry cannot reach net zero alone, nor can the UK get there without industry – so with a general election in a matter of weeks, any incoming government must do all it can to back our sector and reap long-term dividends for the British economy, society and environment. What is needed is an industrial strategy fit for this decade and the next.

As SMMT’s Manifesto 2030 sets out, whoever forms the next government can build on the billions already invested by industry with five key pledges. Chief among them is the need to scale up our domestic EV and hydrogen supply chains, while boosting the supply of low-cost, low carbon energy – steps that would underline the attraction of Britain to investors. We also need to encourage a healthier domestic market for zero emission products, while simultaneously securing free and fair trade deals to enable this export-led sector to sell globally. With world-leading tech innovation and a first-class ecosystem of academia, top institutions and R&D centres, these strengths must be exploited to the full to deliver growth, new skills and jobs across the country.

Delivering net zero, and indeed a connected and automated vehicle transition, means collaboration so a holistic strategy is mission-critical. SMMT’s flagship events such as our International Automotive Summit are as important as ever, therefore, with the 16th edition on 25 June bringing together hundreds of senior representatives from industry and government to discuss the shared challenges and opportunities ahead. With so much to cover, SMMT is delighted to have an impressive line-up of speakers from the likes of McLaren Automotive, Financial Times, Volvo Buses, UK in a Changing Europe, and more. Further details can be found here.

Update Newsletter