The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has launched a new, ambitious campaign: ‘Full Throttle: Driving UK Automotive Competitiveness’, to secure the future of one of Britain’s most important industries.
The strategy sets out a series of bold policy proposals for this coming year and remainder of the decade, covering all aspects essential to automotive industry competitiveness and help the country in the transition to electric vehicles.
The strategy calls for a new ‘Build Back Better Fund’ to support industry transformation, not just in automotive but across other manufacturing sectors. Most importantly, the fund will help the sector transition to Net Zero and transform our existing manufacturing and supply-chain.
The shift to electrified vehicles is the biggest challenge facing the sector. The UK Government is already working with industry to attract additional battery manufacturing to the UK, but the report calls for a binding target of 60 GWh of battery capacity to be built by 2030.
These Gigafactories would give British manufacturers the capability to produce up to one million electric vehicles a year and ensure tariff-free access to critical markets in the EU.
The fund also aims to tackle range anxiety and that is why the plan is to support market transition with the installation of at least 2.3 million charging points nationwide before the end of the decade.
This would ensure all drivers – especially those without driveways – have the confidence to invest in the latest zero emission technologies.
In a best-case scenario with the sector transitioning successfully to a zero emissions future, with ambitious global trading terms, there is the potential to gain 40,000 new highly skilled sector jobs by 2030. This would provide a significant impact in auto heartlands such as the North-East and West Midlands, directly helping ‘level up’ the UK.
Without these conditions, however, the UK’s automotive industry risks decline. In a worst-case situation, with the sector left stranded, analysis shows that around 90,000 jobs could be lost compared with the central scenario, with most of these outside London and the South-East, increasing UK regional inequality, according to Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.
“The next few years represent a critical period for the sector. The pace of technological change is accelerating and the competition more ferocious,” he said. “If we are to secure vehicle manufacturing in this country, with all the benefits to society that it brings, decisions need to be made today.”
The SMMT explained that the ‘Full Throttle: Driving UK Automotive Competitiveness’ strategy will set the UK sector on course for growth, boosting innovation, productivity and enterprise with benefits for all society. If not, the industry will risk falling behind, with production declining, jobs lost and economic damage not only in automotive, but in the many other sectors the industry helps support, from chemicals and steel to finance and advertising.