UK production needs to be next government’s central focus

27 June 2024 #Uncategorised

This week has seen SMMT publish May’s commercial vehicle production figures – down -59.3% on last year, and the third consecutive month of decline. Temporary supply chain shortages have impacted some of the production output, but we are also seeing that factories are responding to a downturn in order books as we adjust to the new normal.

UK commercial vehicle production is a key contributor to the UK economy – and earlier this week SMMT launched Vision 2035: Ready To Grow, which calls on the next government to work in partnership with the automotive industry to unleash its full potential and deliver growth worth £50 billion over the next decade. A key part of this is the UK’s vehicle production, and the vision highlights how to increase the UK’s global competitiveness in electric light vehicle production, which would deliver a cumulative £290 billion increase in value up to the end of 2035.

With CV production found in every part of the UK – not to mention a vast supply chain supporting the industry both home and abroad – success will drive growth across the nation. With the general election one week away, SMMT is now looking to the next government, which ever colour, to invest in UK factories as they transition their production lines to make zero emission models. With almost 70% of UK CV production destined for export, it is vital that Britain continues to work to secure the best possible trading conditions for this key contributor the economy.

The paper was launch as part of SMMT’s International Automotive Summit, which as ever included a diverse range of speakers from the commercial vehicle and bus sectors. It was no surprise that most of the discussions were around what will happen post 4 July. The overwhelming opinion was that the next government need to produce a clear strategy for how charging infrastructure will be funded for the rollout of zero emission trucks and buses – critical for encouraging greater adoption.

Plus, while the UK has a growing zero emission supply chain that produces almost every component needed, the reality is the need to scale up. For ZEVs to achieve the levels of UK content currently seen in British-produced ICE vehicles, there’s a real need to turbocharge investment.

Vehicle production is often called the jewel in the crown of the UK economy – whatever the election result next week, let’s hope that the right steps are taken to ensure it continues to shine.

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