21 Jun 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

SMMT election call to supercharge auto skills

Whoever forms the next government must help supercharge investment in skills for the UK automotive sector — which could be worth more than £50 billion annually to the aftermarket alone by 2030, according to the SMMT.

The SMMT’s call came on May 30 as the trade body released figures showing UK car manufacturing output fell by -7% in April, down to 61,820 units.

This was the second consecutive monthly decline, reflecting factory adjustments in preparation for next generation models and their electrified powertrains, SMMT said.

Output for the UK, at 14,021 units, rose by nearly 20% but failed to offset a -13% decline in production for overseas buyers to 47,799 units, with nearly eight in 10 cars made shipped to global markets.

The European Union took the majority of car exports (56%) followed by the US (15%), China (5%), Turkey (4%) and Australia (3%). Shipments to the US and Turkey rose, with those to the EU, China and Australia all experiencing double digit declines.

Electrified vehicles (battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid) represented over 40%, up from 38%, of all production with manufacturers producing a combined 25,031 units, a modest 0.1% rise on the previous year, with SMMT said was constrained by the transition of factories to new models and technology.

In its Manifesto 2030: Automotive growth for a zero emission future report — the launch of which last June was reported by Aftermarket — SMMT said UK automotive plays a critical role in the economy and society and is a major contributor to the nation’s economic wellbeing, investing in and developing technologies to advance zero emission mobility, and providing well-paid skilled jobs in businesses and their supply-chains in all regions across the UK.

SMMT chief executive officer Mike Hawes said on May 30 the latest fall in manufacturing output was expected given the significant transformation underway within factories as manufacturers retool to produce new models.

But Hawes said: “Keeping this progress on track is essential and requires favourable industrial and market conditions. With a general election in a matter of weeks, the next government must ensure the conditions are right not just for the competitiveness of UK manufacturing, but for the investment required to transition the sector to a net zero future.”