Two years after Covid first introduced us, the UK car business is still devastated, but alive and well. It fell, but not out.
And believe it or not, it’s in some parts healthier today than it was two years ago. I accessed similar metrics (Spring 2020 vs Spring 2022). Thankfully, they claim that we still have over 60 specialist manufacturers and all seven of our main premiums and sport car manufacturers are still there.
The number of primary producers decreased from six to five – thanks Honda’s motobike give up its Swindon factory. But the reality is that the struggling, isolated company (certainly in need of a new partner or owner right now) has long lost interest in building cars in Blighty.
A more encouraging note is that during the same period of the pandemic raging, the number of car supply companies here has increased from more than 2,400 to 2,500 people, while the vehicle design centers in our country increased. almost double – from five to nine. Impressive? We should too.
Yes, two years ago, the UK celebrated new car sales of 2.3 million units (and UK production at 1.2 million) in 2019. And today we are forced to reflect that only 1.6 million units will be bought (only 860,000 built here) in 2021. Not good.
That said, we shouldn’t be shocked by these numbers. For much of the pandemic, consumers were unable to test drive and be drawn into new vehicles, due to the law that states that dealerships cannot open.
Difficulties in sourcing parts and vehicles plus transportation problems were – and still are – undesirable problems anymore. And the good news is that over the past few years, many manufacturers have dramatically increased their retail prices to what some consumers now consider expensive.
Surprise, surprise, all of the above has encouraged motorists not to mention sticking with the cars they already have or opting for newer, but not brand new versions – especially these days. a lot of them work from home. They argue that their new, low or no commute, reduced mileage lifestyle means they don’t need (and may not be able to afford) expensive new cars they rarely use. And that’s an argument the engine industry has to deal with if it’s serious about getting new car sales back to pre-Covid levels.
What the Association of Motor Manufacturers and Traders describes as “people working across Great Britain” totaled 864,000 two years ago. Today is 797,000. And while those job losses are often tragic for unwanted workers and their families, there are some upsides. Nearly 800,000 people (156,000 of whom work in manufacturing) still make a decent living in the UK’s auto industry making it one of the UK’s largest employers. And the SMMT’s forecast for “job creation” in the car business has doubled since 2020.
We have talented workers, renowned brands, state-of-the-art factories and world-class design studios to secure one million jobs at UK Automotive in the years to come. Scotland and Northern Ireland owe it to themselves to join the car-building club. Let the growth, and the big recruitment push, begin – starting with an official letter of invitation/incentive from the UK Government to Tesla and Hyundai asked each to open a factory in England.
Click here to see our list of UK’s best selling car…