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UK’s automotive industry has enjoyed £20bn boost from private investment this year, says SMMT

  • Automotive manufacturing has won £20bn of private investment during 2023
  • That’s more than in the previous seven years combined, says SMMT
  • Industry set to see pre-pandemic levels of trade worth more than £100bn by end of year
  • But trade body warns that upcoming rules of origin must be deferred

Time 11:17 am, November 29, 2023

The UK’s automotive industry has had some £20bn of private investment pumped into it in 2023 – more than in all the years back to 2016 combined.

That’s according to latest calculations by the SMMT and means that this year has seen more investment than in every year back to 2016 combined, which was a total of £16.2bn.

What’s more, in last Wednesday’s Autumn Statement, the government committed £2bn more for the sector, backed by an Advanced Manufacturing Plan and battery strategy to drive green economic growth and create jobs across the UK, it said.

The SMMT stated that with almost a million people directly relying on the sector for their livelihood, the importance of the UK automotive industry to the economy has never been more evident.

Speaking to industry leaders and politicians at the SMMT’s 106th annual dinner in London last night, Alison Jones, the trade body’s president and Stellantis’s senior vice-president for global circular economy, praised the industry’s resilience and commitment to green growth.

‘As an industry, we have moved forward despite the instability, despite legislative uncertainty, inflation and geopolitical risk,’ she said.

‘The industry has backed itself with big decisions on big investments to guarantee jobs and our future.

‘We have seen major commitments in battery production, lithium mining, vehicle manufacturing, R&D and the aftermarket.

Alison Jones speaks at the 2023 SMMT annual dinner

Alison Jones addresses the attendees at the 2023 SMMT annual dinner

‘Such investment – and our ability to remain competitive – is key to the continuation of a strong UK manufacturing base and a sector that sustains nearly a million livelihoods.’

The SMMT added that Britain had confirmed itself as a globally competitive place to manufacture zero-emission vehicles, batteries and components.

It said the industry was ready to return to pre-pandemic levels of trade worth more than £100bn by the end of the year, but the challenge it faced now was to scale up even further to seize the opportunities offered by decarbonisation.

And it warned that the potential to drive economic growth will be hit if the upcoming rules of origin aren’t deferred, otherwise tariffs will come in, which it said will throttle EV trade between the UK and EU.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘The industry is betting big on Britain, and the government has rightly recognised the value that automotive manufacturing brings to the UK, backing our industrial transformation.

Mike Hawes speaks at the 2023 SMMT annual dinner


‘These investments are, however, predicated on a strong domestic market.

‘Incentives for business buyers must be matched with support for private buyers to ensure the maximum return on every penny already pledged to production.

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‘The prize for success will be a faster and fairer decarbonisation of Britain, ensuring millions have access to zero-emission mobility.’

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.

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