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New government must back UK commercial vehicle manufacturing

Published to the CV Show website on
30/05/2024

Whatever the colour or stripe of our next government, UK automotive manufacturers need policies that focus on increasing the country’s global competitiveness – and for the commercial vehicle sector, now is the perfect time to do so. SMMT’s latest figures published today show just that, with more than 8,400 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches leaving British factories last month – down almost a fifth on last year due to supply chain issues while manufacturers retool for a new generation of vehicles.

As we adjust to a new normal after the pandemic, with OEMs investing in new zero emission production lines, growth and indeed decarbonisation is expected across this year – but industry needs the right conditions for investment in order to continue that trend. SMMT’s Manifesto 2030 highlighted the crucial role our industry plays in the economic, social and environmental success of the nation. As we transition, a UK industrial strategy is much needed, and automotive supply chains and advanced manufacturing that are fit for net zero must be at the centre of it.

Trade is also essential and exports are as important as ever for the CV sector, up by almost a third in the year to date, representing seven in 10 of all UK-made vehicles – and a massive 96.8% of them going to the EU. It just shows the importance of securing long-term tariff-free access to global markets, particularly for batteries and green technologies if we want to attract more investment in them.

A domestic market for vehicles that are manufactured here is also needed, and recent SMMT papers have laid out how zero emission uptake can be speeded up – first and foremost through zero emission charging and refuelling infrastructure for trucks and buses, at depots and public locations. Overcoming that challenge must be a CV sector priority for the next government, while better incentives are also needed for operators to make the switch.

The general election is a chance for government to reset how it supports UK commercial vehicle production, our market and trade, all of which go hand in hand to keep a greener Britain thriving and moving.

 

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