The UK automotive industry has a turnover of £71.6bn
1.7 million cars were built in the UK in 2016
The SMMT wants the next government to develop a long-term ULEV strategy
The SMMT has also called for investment in charging infrastructure
The UK car industry has put forward five automotive priorities that it wants the next government to address over the next five years – and they include securing continued access to the European single market following Brexit.
The report has been issued by the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) in the run-up to the general election on 8 June.
As well as reaching a new trade agreement with the European Union (EU), the list includes: ensuring a globally competitive business environment; the development of a long-term industrial strategy that specifically addresses automotive; support for sustainable mobility and ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEVs); and policies to ensure the country benefits from developments in connected mobility.
Mike Hawes, the chief executive of the SMMT, said: “British car manufacturing remains in good health with the production outlook still very positive and significant new models due to go into UK production shortly.
“To guarantee future growth and investment into our industry and its vital supply chain, however, we need the next government to safeguard the conditions that have made us globally competitive, keeping us open and trading and delivering an ambitious industrial strategy for our sector.”
A total of 1.7 million cars were built in the UK in 2016, an increase of 8.5% from 2015 and the highest output since 1999. The automotive industry accounts for 12% of total UK exports.
SMMT reiterates Brexit threat
The SMMT has repeatedly warned of the potential harm to the UK car industry if access to the European single market is not reached post-Brexit. Figures show that 57.5% of cars exported from the UK in 2015 went to the EU, with 81.8% of cars imported into Britain originating from there.
The report cites World Trade Organisation figures that the introduction of a 10% tariff on exports to and from the UK could cost the industry £4.5 billion and add £1500 to the price of every imported car.
The SMMT has also called for the future government to ensure the UK automotive industry has unrestricted access to the EU workforce.
Calls for investment in ULEV infrastructure and incentives
The SMMT’s priorities also call for the future UK government to “take a technologically neutral approach” to reducing carbon and pollutant emissions from vehicles that “allows motorists to choose from the full range of cleaner technologies being offered by the automotive industry”.
There is also a call for the government to develop a long-term strategy to promote the take-up of ULEVs that includes incentives, infrastructure development, consumer acceptance and the development of new battery and fuel technologies.
UK car manufacturing remains strong
The SMMT also released details of UK car manufacturing levels for April. A total of 122,116 cars were made in the UK last month, a decrease of 18.2% from a year ago – although the SMMT noted the late Easter bank holiday affected production.
In the first four months of this year, 593,796 cars have been made – a 1% increase year on year and the highest level since 2000. A 3.5% growth in demand from overseas helped offset a 7% fall in UK sales.