Car Industry Should Be a Priority for Brexit

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) had announced that the government should make sure that Brexit negotiations prioritise jobs and investment in the UK automotive industry. The car industry is responsible for 10% of the UK’s gross domestic product, turning over £219 billion each year.

For 2018, the SMMT predicts that the new car production is set to fall slightly because EU is UK’s biggest trading partner. This reliance means that the car industry must maintain influence on European regulations such as CO2 limits.

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, said Mike Hawes, the SMMT’s chief executive.

In the meantime, the Government must help make the UK as competitive as possible. The Government’s Industrial Strategy and Automotive Sector Deal is a positive step but we need concrete action if we are to stay ahead in what is an intensely competitive global environment, he added.

While the overall production fell by just 0.05%, exports grew by 1.5% to 119,252, the highest number on record. Over 80% of cars built in the UK are now shipped abroad and EU is its biggest buyer.

While it is good to see global appetite for British-built cars reach record levels in January, this only reinforces the industry’s increasing reliance on overseas demand. Future growth will therefore depend on maintaining our current open trade links not just with Europe but with key international markets, explained Mike.

“A transitional deal will be an important first step but, in the long term, a seamless relationship between the UK and Europe must be maintained. The EU remains the third largest new car market in the world and, given it is on our doorstep, it is not surprising it accounts for more than half of our global exports, he concluded.

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