Britain’s CV production in the first month of 2023 represented the best start to a year since 2012, according to the latest SMMT figures, reflecting the green shoots of recovery also emerging in the CV market. Production grew by more than a third in January, reflecting the efforts of OEMs and the supply chain to get back on track following global pandemic-related disruptions. The easing of this challenge in recent months has given manufacturers extra capacity and will contribute to availability of the latest trucks, buses, vans and taxis.
The majority of British CV output continues to be destined for export, and the EU remains the UK’s biggest overseas customer, responsible for 91.8% of exports. The domestic market recorded similar levels of growth and the future outlook continues to brighten, as new models enter production and a major new electric van manufacturing plant comes on stream.
Given the close ties that Britain’s CV sector shares with its European neighbours, the new UK-EU agreement over post-Brexit trade, the Windsor Framework, is a positive development, allowing for the streamlined flow of goods, including vehicles and automotive components. A renewed relationship between both parties should be used to make sure that the potential of the deal is fulfilled, to the benefit of our interlinked automotive industries which have a crucial role to play in driving prosperity, the right to mobility and decarbonisation.
People in Yorkshire, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Hampshire will be among the latest to enjoy the benefits of greener, cleaner bus journeys, with government today announcing £25.3 million to deliver an extra 117 zero emission buses to the regions. The vehicles will be manufactured by highly skilled workers in Northern Ireland, encouraging vital growth in a sector that has seen a sharp decline in ridership levels since to the Covid-19 pandemic began. While immediate investments are welcomed, a long-term and sustainable plan is needed to get Britain’s bus and coach sector back on track.
Indeed, the net zero transition continues to be a critical issue of collaboration between stakeholders and the industry. However, as a result recent strike announcements on the planned date for SMMT’s Electrified 2023 conference, we have taken the difficult but necessary decision to reschedule the event to 18 September. Given the value of the event in bringing people together from across the industry to discuss the challenges and opportunities presented by the ZEV switch, it is important that a full-scale, in-person event goes ahead. We look forward to welcoming speakers and delegates in six months’ time.