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SMMT outlines priority to secure post-Brexit investment in automotive sector

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The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has set out its priorities for the future of the UK automotive industry.

It is seeking rapid progress on key automotive concerns during the recently agreed Brexit transition period, which allows businesses to continue as usual while a new UK-EU trading relationship is negotiated.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “Last week’s deal on the transition period was essential, providing a short term boost and a degree of certainty for investors. The next major hurdle will be securing a new, comprehensive trade agreement with the EU and our partners across the world. In the meantime, government must help make the UK as competitive as possible. Government’s Industrial Strategy and Automotive Sector Deal are positive steps but we need concrete action if we are to stay ahead in what is an intensely competitive global environment. New figures out today show the positive impact our industry has on other sectors so it is vital that automotive competitiveness is front of mind for policy makers.”

With decisions on new vehicle models in the UK due in the next 12 months, the SMMT believes it is essential that both industry and government do all they can to secure investment in UK car manufacturing and safeguard the thousands of jobs that accompany it.

New figures from the Production Outlook, an independent forecasting report, predict there will be modest fall in UK vehicle production to 1.729 million in 2018 and 1.713 million in 2019.

The SMMT says positive production decisions could see production climb to more than 1.8 million by 2023.

In a statement it said: “Our continued ability to trade freely with our biggest partner, the EU, and key global markets is essential but UK competitiveness starts with local conditions. Business rates, capital allowances and energy costs, for instance, must all be globally competitive; training and skills for a productive workforce must focus on new technologies and the UK supply chain must be attractive to investment.

“All of this will be vital if the UK is to remain a global destination for future investment in new technologies, including digital manufacturing, lightweight materials, vehicle electrification and connected and self-driving vehicles. The Government’s Industrial Strategy, published last year, and the accompanying Automotive Sector Deal recognise this, but cross-Government policies must align to deliver on the ambition."

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