Britain’s car industry could be reborn as a world leader in developing green technology, and could get proper long-term government planning for its future, if the recommendations in a new report from leading industry figures are implemented.
The report sets out plans to nurture British car companies and set up an infrastructure that would ensure design and manufacturing takes place here. The industry-led New Automotive Innovation and Growth Team, which produced the document, says that number of jobs in the UK automotive industry shrunk by 110,000 between 1997 and 2007. It says that what is left of the sector is fragile and blames the government for being ambivalent.
One of the problems the NAIGT highlights is the significant overseas ownership of both major assembly plants and their supporting Tier 1 suppliers. This limits the amount of R&D work that can be carried out in the UK and leaves the UK competing as an “assembly location only”.
By setting up a joint industry/government Automotive Council to implement a long-term plan, it is hoped that the UK’s car industry will emerge as a world leader in environmentally friendly transport. The report sets out a 20-year scheme to develop a new low-carbon personal transport system and its infrastructure, dubbed ‘Test Bed UK’.