Denton and Reddish MP, Andrew Gwynne, has expressed his concern for the UK car industry as direct investment in the industry has halved in the first six months of the year compared to the same period in 2017, industry leaders say.
Spending in the first six months of the year was £347.3m, compared with £647m for the first half of 2017, according to figures published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
This followed a warning from car manufacturer BMW which has said it would be forced to close its UK plants if the company cannot quickly and reliably import components from mainland Europe after Britain leaves the EU. BMW has four UK facilities — factories making Mini and Rolls-Royce cars, an engine plant and a metal pressing facility in Swindon — that together employ more than 7,000 people, with the company investing close to £2bn in its British operations since 2000.
Spending in the industry has slipped consistently since the Brexit vote in June 2016. During 2015, about £2.5bn was invested in the UK’s car industry, but over the whole of 2017 this fell to £1.1bn.
Manufacturing for both home and overseas markets rose by 7.3% and 4.7% respectively, with 103,662 cars built for export in April and accounting for 81.0% of production. Despite April’s rise, the picture so far this year is more gloomy with overall output down 3.9%, with a total of 568,378 cars manufactured in the first four months. Four-fifths of these were exported, as domestic demand fell 10.3% against only a 2.2% decline in vehicles destined for export – in March, the number of cars built fell 13.3% year-on-year.
The car industry is one of the UK’s main employers. There may be only 186,000 on production lines, but there are 856,000 jobs linked to the UK motor industry.
Andrew Gwynne said:
“With investment slowing and time running out the Government needs to offer the car industry the certainty it needs for its future growth and prosperity.
“It is not just the 186,000 people working on car production lines across the UK, but the close to 1 million who work in roles linked to it that need certainty now.”