Complex regulations and type-approval processes regarding selling cars need to be removed if specialist British car manufacturers are to continue to prosper, industry chiefs have pleaded.
Speaking at the launch of a Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) report, highlighting the value Britain’s 18 specialist manufacturers to the car industry and UK economy as a whole, bosses from Aston Martin, McLaren Automotive and Radical all outlined the problems they face in entering new markets.
Aston Martin’s chief commercial officer, Michael van der Sande, said: “New-market entry is very important to us, but creating different crash structures and emission rules between markets shouldn’t be necessary.
“Duplication of efforts hits makers like us harder than big manufacturers. It’s not logical. Many local regulations are historically homegrown and internationally irrelevant.”
The costs can be even greater for smaller manufacturers, such as Radical. The firm recently launched its first road car, the Radical SR3 SL, and marketing chief Roger Green revealed it cost the firm £1.2million to pass EU small-volume approval for the car.
But further costs would be needed if Radical, a firm that exports 70 per cent of its production, want to sell it further afield.
“One test around the world would make it easier,” said Green. “Having to do lots of tests is time consuming, difficult and costly.”
McLaren Automotive’s managing director Antony Sheriff said “help was needed from government to help open new markets”.
The SMMT report highlights the combined turnover of the 18 specialist manufacturers is £2.5 billion. The group, which also includes makers of taxis, limousines and hearses, employs 10,000 staff and produces around 25,000 vehicles.