Despite manufacturers still managing to turn a profit, the automotive sector hasn’t been in the best of health these last few years. Growth appears to have plateaued in most Western nations, encouraging companies to cater this business toward other markets, supply chains have also been negatively impacted by the pandemic — with semiconductor shortages hindering production schedules on a scale we’ve not seen since the Great Recession.
It’s a bad situation and rumored to get worse if the warning cries of economists are to be believed. But there’s also mounting evidence to support their claims. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) recently reported that vehicle registrations in the United Kingdom fell by roughly 35 percent in September vs the same timeframe in 2020. This is relevant because the month typically represents the second-busiest period for the country and numbers were already low due to production stops created by coronavirus lockdowns.
With COVID-19 lockdowns suppressing auto sales around the globe, everyone expected April to be a rough month. However, we doubt the United Kingdom expected monthly deliveries to come in at the lowest level since the end of World War II. Registrations for April peaked at 4,321 in the UK, representing the lowest monthly figure since 1946 — when the nation was still rationing materials as it attempted to rebuild after a prolonged military conflict (and factories were just starting to transition back to manufacturing passenger vehicles).
While it’s possible some registrations are simply delayed, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says it doesn’t believe that to be a significant factor. Retailers typically register the vehicle for you and, with with precious little else to do, you’d think they’d have finished whatever paperwork they had lying around. Most of them, of course, weren’t capable of operating normally due to government mandates, allowing the few outlets offering at-home delivery to make up the lion’s share of sales.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), Britain’s main industry group, claims automakers were becoming increasingly concerned with the nation’s departure from the European Union. Prime Minister Theresa May wants a solution that would allow Britain to maintain strong trade ties with the EU while allowing her country to maintain autonomy, but hasn’t found much success.
U.S. President Donald Trump claims a deal with the United Kingdom is absolutely possible, saying the relationship between the two countries is “the highest level of special” late last month. But he also noted that the EU would complicated matters if Britain adhered to its trade laws after Brexit, which is just eight months away.
The European Union doesn’t seem to want to let Britain go, and is nudging the country to stick to its rules by not venturing out to make its own trade arrangements. Critics say this effectively makes the island nation a “vassal state” to the EU, completely defeating the point of Brexit. However, many are fearful that leaving the union and ignoring its mandates could have negative repercussions in the long term — especially in regard to finance and trade.
The United Kingdom, through referendum, has decided to break off from Europe and go it alone. But what of all the auto manufacturers that produce vehicles in the island nation? And of their employees? And trade?
We won’t know the answers to those questions until the UK and European governments sort out how the two entities will work together in the future. For now, it’s business as usual. Though, thanks to Autocar, we at least have reactions from the big players in the UK’s automotive industry.
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- Analoggrotto By the time any of Hyundai's Japanese competitors were this size and age, they produced iconic vehicles which are now highly desirable and going for good money used. But Hyundai/Kia have nothing to this point that anyone will care about in the future. Those 20k over MSRP Tellurides? Worn out junk sitting at the used car lot, worn beyond their actual age. Hyundai/Kia has not had anything comparable to the significance of CVCC, 240Z, Supra, Celica, AE86, RX-(7), 2000GT, Skyline, GT-R, WRX, Evo, Preludio, CRX, Si, Land Cruiser, NSX etc. All of this in those years where Detroiters and Teutonic prejudiced elitists were openly bashing the Japanese with racist derogatory language. Tiger Woods running off the road in a Genesis didn't open up a moment, and the Genesis Sedan featuring in Inception didn't matter any more than the Lincoln MKS showing up for a moment in Dark Knight. Hyundai/Kia are too busy attempting to re-invent others' history for themselves. But hey, they have to start somewhere and the N74 is very cool looking. Hyundai/Kia's biggest fans are auto Journalists who for almost 2 decades have been hyping them up to deafening volumes contributing further distrust in any media.
- Bd2 Other way around.Giorgetto Giugiaro penned the Pony Coupe during the early 1970s and later used its wedge shape as the basis for the M1 and then the DMC-12.The 3G Supra was just one of many Japanese coupes to adopt the wedge shape (actually was one of the later ones).The Mitsubishi Starion, Nissan 300ZX, etc.
- Tassos I also want one of the idiots who support the ban to explain to me how it will work.Suppose sometime (2035 or later) you cannot buy a new ICE vehicle in the UK.Q1: Will this lead to a ICE fleet resembling that of CUBA, with 100 year old '56 Chevys eventually? (in that case, just calculate the horrible extra pollution due to keeping 100 year old cars on the road)Q2: Will people be able to buy PARTS for their old cars FOREVER?Q3: Will people be allowed to jump across the Channel and buy a nice ICE in France, Germany (who makes the best cars anyway), or any place else that still sells them, and then use it in the UK?
- Tassos Bans are ridiculous and undemocratic and smell of Middle Ages and the Inquisition. Even 2035 is hardly any better than 2030.The ALMIGHTY CONSUMER should decide, not... CARB, preferably WITHOUT the Government messing with the playing field.And if the usual clueless idiots read this and offer the tired "But Government subsidizes the oil industry too", will they EVER learn that those MINISCULE (compared to the TRILLIONS of $ size of this industry) subsidies were designed to help the SMALL Oil producers defend themselves against the "Big Oil" multinationals. Ask ANY major Oil co CEO and he will gladly tell you that you can take those tiny subsidies and shove them.
- Dusterdude The suppliers can ask for concessions, but I wouldn’t hold my breath . With the UAW they are ultimately bound to negotiate with them. However, with suppliers , they could always find another supplier ( which in some cases would be difficult, but not impossible)