CEO Update

Industry ready to work with government on ZEV transition

28 June 2024 #CEO Update

If the UK is serious about growth, the automotive sector can be the driving force so this week’s 16th SMMT International Automotive Summit sent that message loud and clear. SMMT’s Vision 2035 plan, launched at the event, sets out the contribution the UK auto industry can make to the UK economy. With the right policies in place, our sector has the potential to deliver growth worth £50 billion over the next decade, at the same time replacing more than 17 million fossil fuel cars with zero emission ones and making more than a million of them here in Britain every year.

All this is within our grasp by 2035, with industry having invested billions to drive decarbonisation. The latest car and van production figures published yesterday illustrate how this transformation is well underway, with factories nationwide retooling, or already ready, to produce the next generation of electrified vehicles for export to the world. Headwinds, however, remain. We face fierce global competition for investment. Geopolitical tensions are rising as is trade protectionism. Against this backdrop, the UK must create a mass market for EVs, with market regulation among the toughest in the world yet with few mechanisms to encourage purchase.

We need the next government, whichever party is elected next week, to work in partnership with us and address these challenges. A long-term industrial strategy is fundamental, giving global investors confidence that there is a framework designed to support industry, to generate returns and encourage further commitments. Combined with new, fair and free trade deals with existing and emerging markets, a reskilled workforce and affordable, accessible green energy, the conditions can be created to turbocharge our sector.

A vibrant domestic market is essential. Manufacturing locates close to where the products are sold so, given we are shifting production to electrified vehicles, increased zero emission vehicle sales are essential. That means making zero emission mobility possible for everyone, with incentives to boost mass market EV purchases, fairer VAT on public charging, and infrastructure rolled out nationally ahead of need.

My thanks to everyone involved with the Summit, particularly our sponsors – AutoTrader, DHL, MarketsandMarkets, Marsh, Pinsent Masons and Shoosmiths – without whom such events would not be possible. The fact that we welcomed a full house of UK and international delegates from across the industry, adjacent sectors and governments is testament to the interest in the UK industry. Our next major event is the SMMT 107th Annual Dinner. Early bird tickets are available only until the end of today, Friday 28 June, so don’t delay and book your spot here.

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