The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders’ Annual Dinner is one of the most exclusive events in the automotive calendar, attended by over 1,000 guests from industry, government and the media.
This year’s Dinner took place on 28 November 2017 at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, and was hosted by our President, Tony Walker, Deputy MD, Toyota Motor Manufacturing UK, and MD, Toyota Motor Europe, London.
Great British comedian, actress and writer Jennifer Saunders made a stylish entrance to the dinner, arriving at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel in another national icon – a union jack decorated, all-new, electric Black Cab. A self-confessed petrol head, Jennifer entertained an audience of more than 1,100 guests from the sector and government with her humorous look at how the shapes and sizes of cars have changed over the years, and what the prospect of driverless cars means for humans.
In his keynote address at the dinner, Tony Walker, urged government not to undermine the UK automotive industry’s hard won competitiveness due to slow progress on Brexit. He said there is no substitute for free and frictionless trade, and called for quicker progress on agreeing a transition period following Brexit.
The President was joined at the event by the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Greg Clark MP. He thanked him for the “strong and ongoing cooperation between our industry and Government” and for developing “a modern and effective industrial strategy” and his “support for the work of the UK Automotive Council
SMMT released new figures, illustrating the high stakes of a no deal Brexit for the sector. The risk comes not just from costly WTO tariffs – which would add at least £4.5 billion to the industry’s annual overheads – but also from the imposition of customs checks, red tape and fees on goods that currently move friction free across borders.
Celebrity guest speaker
Bill Bailey, was the celebrity guest speaker for this year’s Annual Dinner. Well known for his role as a former team captain on Never Mind the Buzzcocks, Bill’s other TV credits include Monster Night, Is It Bill Bailey?, The Stand Up Show and Space Cadets, as well as numerous spots on Have I Got News For You. He is a frequent guest contributor on QI and various radio panel shows, and presented the nature programme Wild Thing I Love You.
Take a look at the highlights from this year’s Dinner
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