18 Apr 2024

Classic car sector to fight back against draconian EU and environmental rules

Complex EU import rules and environmental concerns could put the classic car scene at risk of disappearing along with 113,000 specialist small businesses and supply chain jobs across the UK, a new trade association for the sector has warned.

The Historic and Classic Vehicles Alliance (HCVA) launched this week, with a mission to promote the sector. It is urging government to use post-Brexit regulatory independence to help the sector grow.

The not-for-profit organisation will campaign on behalf of the classic vehicle world including specialist restorers, dealers, parts suppliers and a broad cross section of the industry. The HCVA is highlighting the fact that the classic vehicle industry faces complex new rules around the export and import of cars and parts to and from the EU, as well as the impact of environmental legislation that seems to misunderstand of the environmental impact of vintage motoring.

The organisation says annual turnover, including international trade, is estimated at £18.3 billion, with the value of the three-million cars in the British classic fleet believed to be more than £12billion. The annual tax revenue generated for the exchequer is close to £3 billion.

HCVA Director Harry Whale said: “Our sector is a great British success story and has been for decades. But it’s in serious jeopardy and may not survive to continue providing opportunities for future generations if we don’t act now. In a world of mind-boggling bureaucracy, with environmental and other legislation looming, we need to ensure the voice of the industry and owners is heard and understood by regulators and those in power. We’ll work hard for the whole sector. We’re taking the initiative now to address current challenges, clear up confusion and grasp opportunities to find solutions. These problems span the world and we’re determined to take a long-term view as we campaign to secure the future.”

The industry is spread right across the country, with clusters of specialists operating in the West Midlands, Lancashire, Kent and Sussex – and only 5% of activity based in London.

East Sussex MP Nus Ghani has classic car trade firms in her constituency. She said: “We need to do all we can to support a sector that provides thousands of highly skilled and well-paid jobs in my constituency and across the UK and preserves exemplary skills and craftsmanship. We should be looking for ways to help businesses find solutions to problems and, now more than ever, we should be making it easier – not harder – for reputable high-quality companies to serve their customers. In the current economic climate we certainly can’t afford to risk letting valuable jobs die.”

For more information, visit: www.hcva.co.uk