Blog : Brexit – can we have a rethink? Please…

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

UK car industry

So, here we are in the midst of what appears to be a state of chaos and indecision about Brexit, despite the UK public having voted for this in 2016. It’s months since the Government triggered Article 50 and there is not a great deal of time until the moment when the UK is set to leave the European Union for good on 29 March 2019. It’s time for a Brexit rethink.

We have car manufacturers blaming ‘Brexit uncertainty’ for falling sales, and future model strategy can’t be fixed for fear of falling foul of the shifting sands of a global economy – none of the major UK-based OEMs can plan with any degree of certainty. And what is our Government doing to calm the storm? Is it talking to the British car industry, and saying ‘we’ve got your back’? No.

Is the UK Government working ceaselessly with the EU to ensure that there’s a European trade deal that will guarantee tariff-free deal – in and out – that will make sure our cars can be sold in EU without penalty, just as we can continue buying cars built within the EU in the same way? No.

We’re in a mess – who’s going to suffer?

And more than that, the car industry is a global business – parts pass to-and-fro across borders many times before they become fully-fledged cars – so imagine how tariffs are going to complicate that issue. Why is it that we don’t have a clear idea about how the UK is going to look in a post-Brexit world?

In short, we’re in a mess. And the Government appears to be absolutely clueless about the how it’s going to tackle this problem. Before we heap too much bile towards the Tories on this, remember that Labour’s position is equally unclear, if a little less vocal. And all the time, there are influential elements within the Government which seem set on doing ‘no trade deal’ with the EU, as if that’s a good thing. It’s not a good thing – in fact, it’s insane.

I’m not going to rant about how we’ve been let down over Brexit, and how we ended up here. Where do you start with blame? Nigel Farage for getting the popular support of millions of voters? David Cameron for kowtowing to his sizable following and pledging to run a referendum in the event of winning a majority in the 2015 General Election (which he thought he’d never get)?

Or Labour for pitching Ed Miliband for the job of next Prime Minister (and thereby gifting the Tories with the win)? Or maybe Boris Johnson for helping win the Leave vote in a mood of national anti-establishmentism and general mistrust?

How do you solve a problem like Brexit?

The question is – what can we do to solve the problem, and put industry and the economy back on an even keel? As a population, we’re still as divided as ever on the issue (maybe more so), and all this time on, we’re also as uninformed as we ever were. That’s an unforgivable side-effect of our leaders’ complete ineptitude on the issue – they are seemingly clueless, so where does that leave us?

It’s interesting that, in the 15 months since Dave Leggett wrote his excellent blog, ‘Brexit and the UK’s automotive industry‘ we don’t seem to have made any real progress at all. The global car industry has put pretty much all UK strategic planning on hold while the mess is sorted out – which plays into the hands of everyone else, and causes companies such as Jaguar Land Rover and Vauxhall to cite ‘Brexit uncertainty’ in the face of bad news.

As Dave says, ‘[Automotive] investment strategies are evaluated on a variety of competitive criteria, including any changes to shipping costs. And it’s not just the existing companies to consider, there are decisions being made on long-term criteria by new investors. A Chinese OEM, for example, might now consider that locating a plant in the UK is less preferable than, say, Poland, because of Brexit risks attached to UK-EU trade costs.’

Lions led by donkeys…

This situation is not likely to change while we have such clueless people running the UK-EU negotiations. According to The Guardians Andrew Rawnsley, a team of 11 have completely failed to agree a strategy for the Second Phase of the negotiations with the EU. The Prime Minister seems powerless to unite them in our strategy – despite the car industry (a huge economic power, remember), as well as other important sectors, wanting the UK to stay in the same trading bloc as the EU.

Maybe it’s time for a rethink. It’s fairly unlikely that another referendum will heal the national divide (for the reasons stated above), but equally something needs to be done pronto to get the negotiations on-track again before the UK is left out in the cold completely. The current Government has proved that it’s unable to get on with the task in hand, and equally Labour is shifting this way and that on the issue. So why not give someone else a go?

Poll: Would you change your vote in another EU referendum?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

The UK has some of the world’s greatest and cleverest entrepreneurial minds, so why on earth would you leave this issue in the hands of a bunch of untrusted career politicians? In fact, the politicians in charge of this negotiation process think it’s apt to call the UK-EU negotiation team the ‘War Cabinet’. Really? That’s not a good message to send to the EU in the run-up to the biggest political upheaval in the UK in decades.

Just how important is the UK car industry?

Think it’s not important? According to the SMMT the UK automotive industry is massive, even if it’s just endured a tough-ish year. It accounts for more than £77.5bn turnover and £18.9bn value added to the UK economy.

There are 169,000 people employed directly in manufacturing and in excess of 814,000 across the wider automotive industry, it accounts for 12.0% of total UK export of goods and invests £4bn each year in automotive R&D. More than 30 manufacturers build in excess of 70 models – and you know what, people in Europe want to buy them.

Do you really want the fate of all of that resting in the politically-motivated machinations of some clowns in Westminster? Didn’t think so…

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

Latest posts by Keith Adams (see all)

126 Comments

  1. Hmmmm. Much as I am in favour of manufacturing and automotive in particularly, the EU negotiators will be happy to focus on deals for car makers. This is because if the whole UK motor industry disappeared it would effect the UK GDP by less than 4%. If the city of London income dropped by 10% we would suffer a 5% drop in GDP. Now we all dislike bankers and brokers but they are paying our bills….
    Discuss!

    • http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/9541721/UK-car-economy-in-numbers.html
      8% of GDP car manufacturing accounts for (not including sales, servicing and repairs)
      The entire City of London accounts for 22% according to this
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-248d9ac7-9784-4769-936a-8d3b435857a8
      That is not all financial services. I cant find the figures but I believe it about 12% (must look harder) so a ten percent drop would ~1-2%
      I don’t think the UK would survive a drop of the magnitude never mind a drop of 4% and definitely not 12%

      Worrying times ahead.

      • 77.5 billion in 2017 is 3.8% of UK GDP in 2017. City of London and financial services is 30% plus by your references, it was quoted as 40 to 50% of GDP at the time of the referendum. In any case it’s a factor of 10 on automotive. Unfortunately!
        Better to consider this too in negotiations I think, because all those bankers will move to Frankfurt in a flash – along with their turnover. No infrastructure to move for them.

        • No it’s not The article states that car manufacturing is around 8% of gdp.

          The other aricle is for ALL of London not just financial services. A drop of ten percent in ALL of london’s GDP would amount to a 2.2% “The City” could reasonably account for about half of that.

          Financial services do account for 30% of GDP but that includes domestic banking, Insurance, payday loans, etc. about half of it “international” merchant banking so a 10% drop would indeed be around 1~2% of GDP

          Please if you are going to make these claims do research and give referrances, don’t just make things up.

          Also you’ll find we’re paying the banker’s bills not the other way around

      • Oh, and I did read recently in telegraph/motoring/news ,that diesels emit high levels of nitrous oxide………. laughable journalism.

  2. Well considering virtually all or the UK car manufacturers are foreign owned why would they remain in the UK post Brexit, if we are outside the customs union. They will gradually exit the UK as it will be too much trouble to remain here, considering 80% of production is exported mostly to Europe anyway.
    EU and USA controlled businesses in other sectors presently in the UK will likely think the same.
    I think in 10 years time Poland will be far more prosperous than the UK. With the UK reduced to a poor little isolated island off the mainland of Europe.

    • Many times in the past, years nay decades before any mention of a Referendum, Honda, Nissan and Toyota have indicated that when it suits them, not us, they will be gone. That they have not yet done so suggests there has been “inducements” over the years not do that. Brexit may have given them the reason to do that anyway yet at the same tine still want to vend their stuff manufactured elsewhere in the UK here to take advantage of fatter UK margins… ask BMW about which member of the EU apart from their homeland provides the richest pickings for their products.

      Sadly, it is simply a matter of time before they upsticks and move away when it suits them, not us.

    • Question for you NeilB,

      What percentage of that 80% production goes to one member of the EU? Namely the UK!

      Smoke and mirrors along with statistics usually mislead rather than accurately inform. We as a Nation take those stats as gospel at our peril. Some of us prefer the best evidence available to us. That of our own ears and eyes rather than what spin and propaganda vendors would have us believe.

    • Neil – your figures are dead wrong.

      JLR’s revenue dwarfs the rest of the UK car industy – GBP26 billion vs 5 billion for Nissan UK vs much less for Hoinda and Toyota. It’s revenue that counts not number of widgets, unless you’re measuring Ukranian tractor production in the 1950s.

      JLR’s sales have long been split roughly 5 ways – UK / North America / non UK EU / China / other.

      https://www.statista.com/statistics/386952/jaguar-land-rover-global-regional-sales/

      In other words non UK EU is only about 20-25% of sales for our dominant car maker. Which is 5 times the size of the next largest. Latest figures I saw for Nissan where 45% EU, 30% Uk the rest everywhere else.

      • I have quoted SMMT figures. Per Autocar JLR send 17% of their production to the USA from the UK.
        There is of course a good chance JLR scaling down UK production (Halewood is already on short time) and moving it to their new Slovakia plant. The lack of a customs union or single market agreement is likely to hasten this.
        BMW/MINI will possibly exit the UK for the same reason.
        Will us Brits be able to afford JLR products post Brexit or the German stuff for that matter? A falling GDP, rising. unemployment, higher interest rates for an already over indebted population, doesn’t bode well for the next few years.

        • IN or OUT that scenario you highlight is ongoing anyway.

          Whilst remainers moan about their next new BMW or Continental Holiday costing rather more post BREXIT, rejoice that such purchases will be good for the economy. Unfortunately, not the UK’s.

  3. Sadly, in more recent times, time and again those we entrust to this Nation’s well being demonstrate that the majority are simply not fit for purpose. Theresa May just be an exception. She more than any has in my opinion the most difficult task facing any British Prime Minister since the days of WWII. Yes the majority of UK’s media class and political jobs for life types cushioned against the harsher realities the rest of us face daily seek mainly only to emphasise the negatives aspects for what the Nation voted in favour of in June 2016. Meantime those parasitic “friends” of ours on the EU Mainland and in Brussels will move Heaven and Earth to make life difficult for us as a Nation to sever that ever increasing parasitic connection between UK Taxpayers and Brussels. One does not need to be taught by David Attenborough that any parasite will never release its sustaining host easily. Quite the opposite. When the sustaining host shed the parasite successfully, the parasite must move on to another host or it will die. Simple as that. That is obviously the BIG fear of Brussels and for that precise reason, they will not make our severance of that ever wider parasitical umbilical cord to Brussels sucking even more of the UK Taxpayers’ hard to come by to prop up their failing Union Model.

    It’s all very well for “caring” Anna Soubry, Gina Miller, Tony Blair, Michael Heseltine, Ken Clark and all the other cushioned against that harsh reality to emphasise that jobs will be lost. Job losses are ongoing and have been happening for years before any mention of a referendum. That poses the more important question of where were these same peoples’ loud vociferous objections during the past forty odd years when millions of UK Jobs were destroyed as a direct result of the UK’s membership of the so called Union of Europe’s less than covert policy agenda. Indeed, it’s all too obvious that this was Brussels and the EU’s not so covert agenda all along. The ever more parasitical Monster the EU has evolved into was never what I voted for back in the early 1970s. Far from it.

    Now retired, I for one lost employment more than once as a result of precisely that and I know of others in my circle of acquaintances who likewise suffered over the years. I now strongly suspect that the result which surprised “It’s in the bag” David Cameron and many folks shows there are almost certainly many millions who voted the way I did for that precise reason as well as the others equally valid. One only needs to search the web to discover folks who worked for former UK owned organisations, when taken over by an EU Mainland Company to be told that the services or production will be moved to the Mainland in the best interests of that company now in alien, not UK control. Over the past four decades, that has happened many many times. Far too many for the longer term well being of this Nation.

    We as a Nation have demonstrated the ability to get far too many important decisions wrong over those decades of EU Membership. That’s all of us have to share that blame for allowing it to happen. June 23rd 20i6 thankfully a notable important exception. Just maybe that decision will be the first of many examples of a Nation now not only wishing to take control of its own affairs and well being over the longer term, but a nation determined to make things right every time. June 23rd 2016 was the first step in that direction. All power to them.

    There again, if God forbid the spoilers, moaners and the others still planning to undermine the wishes of the Nation get their way for a second Referendum, I for one will vote IN! No way do I want to pay far more for my next new mainland built BMW or Continental Holiday. Say no more except I’m alright Jack so yah-boo-sucks and bollards to all the rest of you because…. I’m alright …. for now.

  4. It’s a shame that Brexiteers focus so much on our need to get back our ‘sovereignty’ (whatever that is) because it’s clear that these inept, untrusted, clueless people we call our government and opposition are the last people we should be handing more power to.

    I’d rather it remained in the hands of faceless EU bureaucrats myself (if indeed it currently is).

  5. I’m getting tired of the whole Brexit debate. The language on both sides has become extreme( traitors, Sun reading racists, etc) and there’s no middle ground. Those politicians who probably want a soft Brexit like Theresa May or a second referendum like Vince Cable are sidelined by hardliners in the two main parties. It’s likely about the only thing Jeremy Corbyn has in common with Jacob Rees Mogg is a dislike of the EU, as Corbyn would quite happily leave the capitalist EU and have a hardline socialist Brexit.

  6. its a bit one sided we import cars(bmw,vw group,mercedes etc) from the eu, if uk automotive is cut off so could their,s. we want their money they will want ours.
    commonsense is that business not politic,s will balance things out

    • Good question GG da C. More to the point how many of those go to that one EU member, the UK.

      That aligns with Ktimo’s post.

      A good point Ktimo. Fake news distortions conveniently avoided by those who want to see UK’s severance from the parasitical Union fail. Not just to RoTW, but “exports” to the UK’s home market.

      • You have posed that question twice on this blog. You seem to be suggesting that saying 80% of car production is exported is fake news because that 80% included UK sales. Is that a correct understanding of what you have said?

        If so, I don’t understand. If you see this link from December 2017… (http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/cars/article-5201513/Number-cars-UK-buyers-drops-lowest-2017.html), which is a Daily Mail site, so certainly not a remain source, it seems quite clear that YTD Nov 17 total production was 1,577,042, home market was 322,551 and export was 1,254,491. Total export was 79.5% which does not include the home market sales. So the home market is not part of the export to EU stats.

        Of the share of UK production to other EU countries (so not including the UK) I have struggled to find similarly dated figures. However, this link to the FT in January 2016 (https://www.ft.com/content/b2445b02-bec9-11e5-846f-79b0e3d20eaf) states that exports to the EU bloc account for 57.5% of British car exports.

        If we are not to make informed decisions based upon reliable evidence, including statistics, what should we base them on?

        If you have other evidence, could you please link to it?

        If those stats produced by the SMMT are false, can you please explain why and on what basis?

        In the absence of other evidence or a clear explanation, and by casting doubt upon statistics from a reliable sources, aren’t you at risk of spreading fake news?

        • Oops. Apologies for the tautology. To ask…

          If those stats produced by the SMMT are false, can you please explain why?

          Would have been sufficient. I must learn to proof read…

        • If it appears in print or on the news it surely must be kosher. WRONG.

          What percentage of that figure to the Mainland also includes those destined for further shipment outside the EU?

          Consume the bovine excrement when it suits if you wish, include me out.

          Smoke and mirrors.

          Yes, there will be some jobs lost. Many would still go irrespective of any referendum outcome as those firms in foreign ownership and control have warned many times. Plus lets all disregard the millions of UK jobs and carers lost during our membership of the parasitical Union. Most certainly there are many who have and do benefit here from EU membership as the parasitical union is not broke so why fix it … for them. However nothing lasts forever and whilst those who voted IN did so for obvious “I’m alright” reasons, things change and who is to say the continuing parasitic erosion of UK jobs will not continue. Exporting jobs is something we as a nation have excelled at in recent decades. Those cushioned against reality Remainers and the Westmonster privileged rarely ever mention that form of UK exports for bluddy obvious reasons. Maybe you are one of those who voted IN because “Why fix it if it aint broke” reasons … for you. It has been broke for decades for millions of others.

          Not just the Japanese firms, Ford, GM etc have some “token” production here which is a mere slim shadow of what once was the case providing much needed employment. Here where their product still sells in healthy margin numbers. However, like Transit production shipped wholesale to Turkey before ever mention of a referendum, how long before it suits them not us with what little they produce here to upsticks and take production elsewhere?

          That always has been the concern for many jobs already lost here. What under the table covert deals have been done at taxpayers’ expense to keep these Japanese and other firms here. Maybe those news items some years ago were also of the FAKE variety.

          This Nation can learn from many others who like the USA…Rightly put No.I first. They all have their country’s long term interests forever foremost. Unlike the UK, there is valid reasons to admire their sensible “America etc First” stance. For all too long this Nation has played all too fairly in a shark infested commercial world. Next you will tell me that the protected still massive French and German Automotive Industries continue to survive and thrive because they produce superior product to us also ran Brits.

          Over the past few decades, I have helped folks owning MGs and Rovers locate parts for their highly regarded cars near impossible to find in their countries. Not just in the EU, as far apart as Argentina, Israel and Africa where what I regard as “our” Britsih cars are still highly regarded even though they are all now ell over a decade old, usually far more.

          So, I have a question for you, why is it that British cars are more highly regarded worldwide than they are by the car consumers in the land where they are made.? Could it be media brainwashing of the car consumers, not to be confused with car enthusiasts.

          Still vivid in my mind’s eye are media “correspondents” outside the gates at Longbridge day after day geeing up views and listeners that the “bruvvers” inside will soon be voting on Industrial Action. That’s media speak for “strikes”… talk about living in the past. Their fake news slant made to create the impression that the “bruvvers” will almost certainly vote to down tools and walk. Come the day and the media plonker outside those same gates gives a swift update of the vote result. The “bruvvers” did NOT voite to strike. The disappointed embarrassing expression on their faces said it all for me about FAKE news vendors. Then it’s … Cue “upcoming” and “moving swiftly on”…

          Still it is all too frequent in the cushioned against reality highly over rewarded media news vendor environment. Note also how when their massive payment packages were revealed, I am careful to use payment here and not to use the word “earn” particularly with the BBC shower in mind with their guaranteed statute income stream. They then conveniently shifted their news slant to the so called disparity of pay scales on the gender gap to deflect from the core issue of their huge payments. Many females in the media are paid in excess of some of their male counterparts anyway. That is not FAKE. Jobs maybe equal on paper, but, no two folks on God’s Earth are equal in ability and skills etc. Each should be paid on merit and those aspects alone and “earn” what they are paid. Here I speak from the best evidence available to me. I have employed many folks over the years and long since understood that no two folks are equal.

          Cue “upcoming” and “moving swiftly on”… 🙂

          • I’m afraid that hasn’t added any clarity.

            When you have used the words “…that figure to the Mainland…” you seem to be implicitly accepting that figure is correct. You have offered no evidence to doubt it and in any event does it matter what proportion is subsequently shipped out from the other EU countries? The proportion of UK car exports is still around 80%.

            So in what way is that “bovine excrement”? News and statistics can be wrong, but on what basis do you say that? You have not offered any alternative evidence or explanation.

            In the rest of your post you make a couple of points which I have some sympathy with but when you offer no evidence and insensitively assert that other people are gullible whilst you are not, you are in danger of becoming the sort of fake news vendor you disapprove of.

            Strident opinion is more convincing when supported by reason and evidence. Please provide some.

      • a) 53% is by volume not revenue. By revenue its significantly lower as JLR exports are spread globally (as are the 2 million engines a year Ford exports – not included in the car numbers) 1 Nissan to Europe is worth a fifth of a Range Rover to China.

        b) So what. Brexit is Britain’s withdrawal from a political union. We are seeking to retain a FTA. Similarly to how Canada has no Customs Union or Political Union with the US, but there is a North American FTA called NAFTA and everyone knows there is one integrated North American car industry

  7. The sooner we are out of the EU the better….a common market was ok but political union no way….if they don’t want to sell us their BMW’s, VW’s, Audis, Mercedes, etc in the UK at a reasonable price then the EU will have to explain to German workers why they are being laid off. You don’t see many German cars in France…. I can read similar silly scare stories in the Guardian or on the bias BBC News, sad to see them appearing here on AROnline.
    I remember when we were told the same disasters would happen if we did not join the Euro currency by the same part of the establishment and industry experts….

    • To be fair, it’s a blog, my opinion… not sure what you mean by it being a scare story – I’m simply saying I’m frustrated by the crap way the government is dealing with the negotiation, and they should get someone in who knows what they’re doing. This is a very big, and important deal, and the government really shows no signs of knowing what its doing, which fills me with dread.

      If you think that’s a scare story, fine – see it simply as venting my opinion on the matter, hopefully to raise some questions. You say, ‘The sooner we are out of the EU the better….a common market was ok but political union no way…’ – that’s not the question: we’re leaving the EU (it’s happening), but to do so without some form of trading deal without something in place with your largest trading partner is simple idiocy.

      Finally, I’d say that if BMW starts laying off workers at home as a consequence of falling sales because the UK won’t take its cars (as you say), then imagine what they’ll do with Cowley.

      • Keith, with the passing of more time due mainly to the spoiling tactics of the shower in Brussels who need to make an example of the UK. It is in their interests to delay, spoil and upset negotiations. It is merely human nature to do that when folks do not get their way. That for the UK daring to vote OUT of their “wonderful” ( for them ) parasitic Union of 27 other “successful” member states of their so called union. Successful… yeah right.

        What you and no doubt others see as a “Crap way the Government is dealing” I see as the end product of Brussels shower making things difficult.

        The Union is set for self destruction from within. A simple matter of time as the monster becomes ever more unmanageable. That is their real fear. They need UK Taxpayers massive contributions to enable the monster to continue. It is in their interests to set and example to other EU members by making things difficult for the UK to sever that parasitic connection. Then they can say “Told you so”.

        However, the vast majority of the folks in this Nation do still possess sufficient quantities of the “Right Stuff” to not only survive outside that parasatic EU womb, but to thrive outside of it. It wiull of course take taime and some folks will unfortunately suffer as a result. Nowhere near as manuy as those like me who have suffered as a direct result of EU membership. I did not vote for the all devouring EU Monster it has now become back in the early 1970s. I voted for membership of a much smaller economic community. Previous to that, we were told by some of the so called friends on the Mainland … Non, non non! Maybe those younger posters here were never aware of that. I have a long memory. This Nation has faced far more severe adversity even in my lifetime and overcome it successfully and both survived and thrived despite that.

        With all the current spoiling and finger of blame pointing by vested interests both sides of the Channel who still cannot understand why this Nation voted out. A NO DEAL option becomes the ever more effective way of dealing with it. Then it is up to the people, not governments of the remaining 27 to decide if they want to sever their commercial connections and other aspects with this Nation. That decision will be theirs. Governments wont solve these problems. The people involved will find a way despite what the EU rulers tell us to do. Those that expect an immediate satisfactory BREXIT outcome better go outside and look up at the sky. There is more chance they will see and hear “Oink-oink” and “Flap-flap” passing overhead.

      • Keith imagined :~

        “Finally, I’d say that if BMW starts laying off workers at home as a consequence of falling sales because the UK won’t take its cars (as you say), then imagine what they’ll do with Cowley.”

        You say that Keith, here’s what I say following a tour of the Cowley BMW works couple of years ago.

        Yes, those hundreds of massive yellow robots will grind to a halt and no doubt sold off or deployed elsewhere Chinese MG Motor Style. I wonder where those robots were manufactured…. no I do not.

        Yes a factory tour of what some call Stalag Cowley … :)… British humour .. Good eh what .. Very impressive set up and massively active. The absence of human workers astounded me. Just a few in that huge and extensive works minding those very noisy ( ear defenders a must and were issued ) robots.

        If they close the joint, dearie me… Us Brits will just have to make our own stuff.

        There are still some folks who believe Hamilton’s F1 Championship winning Mercedes-Benz was designed and produced in Stuttgart. Yes, of course they bought the British outfit and put their three-pointed-star logo on all the stuff. Such successful car design is beyond the ken of us useless Brits in some mindsets apparently. With that in mind I’m off to place an order for a nice new Mercedes or BMW. No more old MGs and Rovers for me… 😉

  8. “Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it”
    This quote by Mark Twain rather sums up our politicians, and not just about Brexit which is a total and utter disaster for the economy.

  9. Brexit is a mess created by people who could not accept that the British empire ended five decades ago.
    Once the the vote was arrived at, the value of sterling dropped, making imports more expensive. All at once the weekly shop became more expensive, fuelling support for the fantasy economics of Jeremy Corbyn.
    Be careful what you wish for, for the grass is not always greener on the other side.
    Britain has spent the past 3 decades fighting back from the economic abyss, learning to build and sell goods to the EU. Then it presses the self destruct button and sticks two fingers up at its customers.
    As far as I am concerned Britain deserves everything that comes its way from now on.

    • That just about sums the current, totally misguided situation up!That’s also before the total ineptitude that’s supposed to be coming up with a solution.

  10. In terms of brexit, I understand the points of both sides of the barricade, but let’s not forget one important factor that was mentioned in this blog. The car industry is GLOBAL, which means that belonging to a specific trading bloc might give some assurances or extra benefits, but doesn’t prevent EU manufacturers from moving their plants to other countries within or outside the EU. Car manufacturers might shift production to the eastern bloc, meaning several job losses from other EU countries where wages got too high, to others where wages are lower.
    To give you an example, at the moment, in Portugal, The workers of the VW Plant Autoeuropa have been staging a few strikes against pay and working timetables… VW won’t leave for now, but once they get all their investment back, since they started making cars in 1995, they won’t be too squeamish about shifting production to Morocco.
    So, in my view being part of the EU doesn’t necessary mean at get all car manufacturing jobs are guaranteed. Ford has left car production in the U.K. for good, where the prospect of a referendum was unthinkable.
    So, although I think that both sides of the negotiation table will strike a deal when it comes to the car industry, that will just prolong their stay. Once manufacturers see that they got their money back, and can make a profit elsewhere, they’ll pack their bags, whether their plant is in the EU or not.

  11. Corrections:
    “So, in my view being part of the EU doesn’t necessary mean that all car manufacturing jobs are guaranteed.”
    “Ford has ceased car production in the U.K. for good, at the time when the prospect of a referendum was unthinkable”.

    • Please enlighten me on how.

      I’m remaining fairly neutral, on whether we should be in or out, however going out without a cohesive plan will not make us better in the long run. We need to be absolutely sure of how we as a nation will conduct ourselves once out and we need that now because every day we are out without the right plan being in place is a day where we fall further behind.

      At the moment it is clear there is no cohesive plan and many government reports commissioned since the decision to go out have indicated that we will be worse off.

      This is not acceptable because without leadership (and neither of the main parties seem to have any at the moment) we are heading towards shit creek and we do not have a paddle.

  12. When you look where they are are getting their financial backing from I don’t trust the motives of many politicians wanting us out. What would Churchill think? Anyone thinking Brexit will lead to securer borders might care to look at Theresa May’s performance when in charge of the Home Office. At least Baldrick would have a cunning plan – this mob haven’t got one at all.

  13. I know it’s all seems very dull but I have been trying for a while to alert people who care about the future of motor manufacturing in the UK to what the “guru” of “hard Brexit” (Patrick Minford) actually predicts will happen to UK manufacturing, and to volume car manufacturing, if his prescriptions are followed. The following text (in italics) is from the 2016 report of “Economists for Brexit” which he co-wrote. Note the reference to “diminished manufacturing”. Minford expects and would welcome a decline in manufacturing from around 10% to 5% of GDP – and sees little future for “volume car manufacturing” for which you can read Nissan, Toyota, PSA-Vauxhall and Honda.

    “What would be the effect of simply ‘walking away’ from the EU? Think of it as abolishing the 1972 European Communities Act, not negotiating any new agreements with the EU or anyone else, and putting up no UK trade barriers at all. Detailed model calculations (Minford et al, 2015) show we would receive a welfare gain of 4% of GDP, with consumer prices falling 8% and our competitive services sector expanding to take the place of diminished manufacturing output. “

    This line of thinking was reinforced in the more recent report of “Economists for Free Trade” (which is what the “Economists for Brexit” have renamed themselves). That report (and associated rosy forecasts) was launched with the help of Jacob Rees-Mogg in November 2017 and recommends essentially exactly the course outlined in the above text (unilateral abolition of tariffs. Trade with the EU on WTO terms etc.)

    The bottom line is that these people don’t think we should be building “volume” cars. There’s not much future for the 4 firms listed above in the case of a “no deal” or “WTO terms” Brexit – as they are more dependent on the EU market (which took 53% of UK car exports in 2017) while at the same time those multinationals have alternative “global” markets largely covered already by plants in region (so would not divert UK production there). JLR and Mini are probably better placed but it still doesn’t look good… All of which means that in the medium to long term the list of popular models built in the UK is likely to be even shorter (Astra and Auris already under threat). Which means that even with tariffs we may end up importing more cars from the EU than now (and paying more for them). Minford & Co. expect everyone to switch to buying cheaper imports from places like South Korea (part of the “consumer prices falling 8%” bit in the above passage) – but I personally doubt that will happen to the extent he envisages (partly due to resale value issues). I suspect Ford and Vauxhall will still have a strong market share in the UK in 2028 (as in 2018, 2008, 1998, 1988 etc. etc. ) and they will be supplying it with cars like Corsa and Fiesta built in the EU (perhaps with reduced spec. to blunt the impact of tariffs). So we will have junked part of our car industry, lost a lot of employment, end up importing more cars than before and exporting less, and end up paying more for a lot of those imported cars, which is the reverse of the economic impact expected by Minford – who expects a shift to cheaper imports to “release” money to stimulate the economy – hence those rosy predictions you may have seen in the press for a “£135 billion boost to the economy from Brexit” (over 2020-25).

    If nothing else – these issues demand more debate.

  14. I just think that it is tragic, that now we have the surviving parts of British Leyland – MINI, Jaguar Land Rover, Unipart and Leyland Trucks which, after decades of cock-ups, missed opportunities, financial turmoil and false starts have emerged from the wreckage of the 1970s and are now highly successful and profitable companies and Brexit could/will scupper the fortunes of all of them and undo all that has been achieved. It must be stopped.

  15. I have been amazed at the number of South Korean Automotive product I see already on UK roads in the past few years. My younger brother who now for decades has always bought foreign ( despite once telling me the most reliable car he ever had was a … wait for it … A Rover! ) told me he had a shock when getting hos nice BMW 6-pot Cabriloet which has been in the family since new, needed in excess of £1000 on suspension renewals alon for the Mot, has decided to get rid. He told me he is seriously thinking of getting a new … KIA!… He’s had Oriental product in the past.

    He is far from alone if I look at what is now parked in front of near neighbours’ garages and what fills many parking spaces local supermarket car parks. Not forgetting those ever longer Motorway Traffic hold ups.

    Apparently of all the EU states, with the exception of the home country, BMW’s nicest “little earner” and fattest margins is not on the EU Mainland, it is guess where ? Correct … Got it in one!

    Hells Bells, us Brits will have control to start making our own cars rather than assemble those for foreighn owned companies here who years ago threatened that when it suits them, not us, they will upsticks and leave. They will still want to sell their stuff here to take advantage of fatter margins.

    Reading some of the posts here leaves me wondering if any, like me, have run their own business trading internationally. Know what, Johnnie Foreigner on the EU mainland rarely plays fair. Unlike some mug Nation EU Member I could mention.

  16. As a person viewing this whole episode from afar it would appear that those interested enough to vote got there wish, if you are against it why did you not vote?.

  17. The problem is this has been started by right wing nutjobs like Reece-Mogg who Cameron thought he would defeat by winning the referendum and shut them up for good. However many Brits peed off with what they saw as the huge influx of johnny foreigner invading our country wanted to say no more immigration, and stupidly believed the rhetoric that we could be outside the EU with free trade at no financial cost voted to leave without actually looking at how it would work!
    Any one in their right mind will see that the EU don’t need Britain, as those so called trade agreements that we will sign, will more likely be aimed at by the EU after Brexit so why would they trade with Britain? Being part of EFTA, like Norway, who pay to gain free access to the EU markets would be the best bet but this looks unlikely as those same right wing tails are still wagging the dog in the Tory party.
    Its not to say I was not against the EU – its a bureaucratic monstrosity that is a drain on all EU taxpayers, but I would have preferred a 3rd option on the ballot – EU reform. The free market is what Brits signed up to in the 70s, not the political mess that Maggie got us into bed in.

  18. It’s a complicated issue, and while I’m not convinced our negotiators know what they are doing, I don’t trust many of their critics either. In terms of the car industry it is global, and highly integrated, but not just inside the EU.

    When the Ford Transit plant in Southampton closed, production moved not to an EU country, but to Turkey (a country with a Customs Union agreement with the EU on manufactured goods but not services or agricultural products)

    The dubious Ford Ecosport was initially made in India, before production was shifted to Romania, so now within the EU though I don’t think that was a major issue beforehand.

    The Toyota C-HR crossover is also made in Turkey

  19. Im mildly amazed anyone actually think much car manufacture will remain in the UK post Brexit. Whilst they’ve confirmed pioneering electric development will happen in the uk, the movement of Mini production to Germany / Eastern Europe is surely just a matter of time. (Same too for the Vauxhall Ellesmere Port plant).

  20. As I used to trade internationally, exchanged rates were always of a prime interest to me.

    Stand by for another illustration of FAKE NEWS by our privilged and biased Media and Political Classes. When the Referendum result became the NEWS, cue those media and political types who wanted IN highlighting the exchange rate changes at the time. Headlines like lowest exchange rates against the US$ for 35 years! How convenient. That was at the time I traded and had they have used 36 years instead when the UK £ v. US $ was @ PARITY … One for one, that would have meant a different ( ie less alarming ) headline.

    FAKE NEWS is alive, thriving and well living here in the UK and elsewhere by those news vendors where it suits their agenda.

    Incidentally, the current UK £ and EU Euro exchange is close to the exchange rate before those who thought the result of the referendum was “In the bag” David Cameron style were proven WRONG. So how come that “recovery” ( rolleyes ) of the exchange is hardly worth a mention. Don’t bother answering all you naysayers, I am fully conversant with the reasons why … Does not suit their FAKE NEWS agenda.

    Consume their FAKE NEWS of it suits, include me out!

    • The excahnge rate on the 22nd June was 1.3018 Euro to the GBP, today I see it is at moment 1.0946 so it is 16% lower!

      So we can conclude the person peddling fake news around here is you, with your lie that the exchange rate has recovered.

      • Graham : if we take a longer view of currency fluctuations , which is the only proper professional approach, rather than the George Soros gambling approach, we find that 5 years ago today, the Euro was at 1.16 to the pound. Today, it is ( spot rate ) 1.128 a difference of less than 3%. Perhaps you will now apologise to Big John for your ( sadly typically ) rude and intemperate posting

        • With regard to the exchange rate, I am not sure that is a fair description of the position. If we are going to take a longer view, then surely average figures would be a better guide, rather than at two points at either end of the timeline?

          If we look at monthly average figures over the past 5 years from March 2013 to date, then that average has been 1.23 Euro to GBP. It was 1.13 in March 2013, rising to 1.42 in November 2015 but down to 1.28 in May 2016 and 1.27 in the month of the referendum, June 2016. The average for this month up to yesterday was 1.13.

          The average of the last ten years was 1.21.

          So over the average value of the last 5 years, the fall is I think about 9%, still a considerable difference that has not been recovered.

          That makes our holidays in Europe more expensive for us, but UK holidays for Europeans more affordable.

          • Well said.

            He just choose 5 years ago because the UK had just lost its 3A rating so the Pound had taken a drive. If you look at graph the pound then recovered until topping out at 1.40 plus at the end of 2015, and then it goes into decline as uncertainty starts with Brexit and it drifts down until going off the edge of a cliff on the 23 June.

            Anybody who is claiming that Sterling has reciovered to a pre Brexit position is peddling a lie, as this graph of the last 5 years shows

            http://www.xe.com/currencycharts/?from=GBP&to=EUR&view=5Y

      • It is recovering particularly the far more important UK £ ~ UK $ Rate.

        It is invariably the US $ which is the primary International Trading Exchange tool worldwide. The EURO is of far lesser importance. Us Mug Brits dodged that poisonous bullet and rejected the EURO a few years ago. Some say more by luck than good judgement. I reserve judgement although that line has some validity based on previous UK~EU form. In any event, praise be we got that decision right. Rightly so in the opinion of most.

        Fake News that if you so desire. Sprinkle with some of the oft repeated fake media overkill line…. DESPITE BREXIT…. 🙂

        As I type this, it is blowing a gale and raining heavily. That’s BREXIT for you. Typical!

        The shakers and movers in the money markets are on constant alert to seize and manipulate any opportunity to take a greedy cut in the markets. Back in June 2016, they saw an opportunity and grabbed it. Nothing new there. When it suits them, they will strike again to take advantage. Fake News Scares invariably helps them to move in for a “Kill”. The UK voting to sever that parasitical umbilical cord to that miserably ever greedy shower in Brussels was simply another opportunity for them. So what else is new? … Roll them eyes.

        That’s that way this observer sees things based on the best evidence available to me as I travel about the green and pleasant. You and those with your mindset can produce all the facts and figures from the expert and academic know-it-all know-nowts but, however presented, it will not change the reality. Reality is a whole different kettle of ball games and some participants do not play fair and never will. Now there’s a surprising turn up for the books…er… Not!

        • Replying to Graham, perhaps it is germane to point out that the temporary 2015 rise in the Pound /Euro rate was not because of strength of sterling : it was caused by the near collapse of the Euro, with Greece, Portugal, Spain and Italy all wanting to leave . That particular debacle has not gone away : it has merely been postponed, and the consequences for those four countries have been catastrophic, with ( in Iberia in particular ) levels of unemployment which are a threat to the democratic structure of those nations . Is this what Graham wants to happen to us ?

        • You have a confusing commentary that I just cannot understand. You say that you see things based upon the best evidence available to you, yet you dismiss facts and figures and expert opinion (without offering any alternative evidence or explanation) used by others because they do not change reality. Or at least the reality that you perceive. Yet at the beginning of this post you refer favourably to facts and figures, namely the £-$ exchange rate which you think is important.

          So you seem to be selecting the facts that support your view and rejecting those that don’t. I suggest that is unwise because it damages your credibility.

          However, on the £-$ exchange rate figures there are some facts. If we go again to the monthly average exchange rate over the last 5 years we see that it has been $1.47 to the £. In May 2016 it was $1.45, in June 2016 it was $1.42 and as at today the average for this month so far is $1.40. So currently it is about 4.8% down on the 5 year average and since June 2016 about 1.5% down.

          That is a fact and a figure in accordance with your post and that presumably you are happy to accept as being a reality that you agree with.

          I would make three points, but I would emphasise that I have no expertise around exchange rates or international trading. So if someone else knows better and explains it clearly, I am unlikely to argue.

          1. Although I think you are correct in saying that the $ is the primary currency of international trade, I would not dismiss the Euro. Our biggest trading partner is the European single market taking 43% of UK goods and services. So for that trade, the £ to Euro exchange rate is the primary concern and whilst Europe remains such a huge trading partner, certainly not of lesser importance. Although not all other EU countries are in the Euro, the biggest economies are.

          2. Our trade with other countries, aside from the USA, is dependent not just upon the £-$ exchange rate, but also upon the exchange rate of the purchasing country’s currency to the dollar. To be honest, I am not sure how relevant this point is, I am just trying to highlight that the £-$ rate is not the be all and end all. If someone has a better understanding, I am happy to take a lesson.

          3. If the £ strengthens against the $, then that makes our exports less competitive outside of the EU, and our imports more expensive. In fact, the average monthly £ value for the past year has been $1.31, so the current rate is making it harder to sell our goods outside of Europe. As we want to be a better trading nation post Brexit, will we be better or worse off if the £ reaches pre-Brexit rates against the $? I don’t know, but would welcome informed opinion.

  21. I agree that the exchange rate is now back to pre-vote levels…I am sure my grocery basket will shortly return to the same price as days shortly before the referendum. I do hope my buying power will be returned to me as quickly as it was lost.

    Also an immediate resurgence in all manufacturing output, our “rightful” place on the world stage and of course no nett immigration – all a slam dunk now we are on the right path.

    Hurray!

    It is all going to turn out OK in the end, isn’t it? Actually, I think it will, but it may take some time.

    When the question appeared above about me changing my vote, I of course said no…it was crazy to decide to leave then and it still is now…but it is out of my hands…I do not think another referendum would be helpful so let’s make the best of where we are.

    Economy or immigration? That was the real referendum choice then, and it will be the choice to me made by our “leaders” in the next few days.

    Whatever happens I will still be living here and hope this great country can find some way of healing itself after all of this. If a hard Brexit is chosen then the economy will suffer for 10 years…a soft Brexit may reduce this period to less than 5 years, but either way I am optimistic that our country will come through this transition…but I do worry about how radicalisation of our younger workers who may be marginalised by lack of working opportunities may affect our social structure in the interim, and what that impact may have for us all in the longer term.

  22. Read the FT/Auto Express articles about VCA certification being no longer valid across the EU – another unintended consequence putting the UK at a significant disadvantage post Brexit….

    • Oh yee of little faith.

      PSSST! Chris C. Lauf=ghing stock you say. Just imagine how hard those “friends” of ours on the mainland will laugh all the way to their banks in the event of a UK reversal which many “It aint broke for me ” types here still seek.

      If this Nation cannot thrive and survive outside the ever larger parasitical EU Monster then just maybe it does not deserve to.

      I have rather more faith that you apparently. Yes, it wil not hapen overnight of course. There again, the millions of jobs lost including mine as a result of UK’s Membership of the EU Monster did not happen overnight. It was a cancerous creeping erosion largely passing conveniently unnoticed by the “I’m alright” types almost unseen. All very convenient of course for the “It aint broke for me” types. Yaa-boo-sucks and bollards to the rest of us. It needs fixing. The sooner the better. Past PMs have tried to get the EU Monster to reform and to become more user friendly to the UK. Every one failed miserably to do so. That will never change until that parasitically harmful connection is severed. The sooner the better for the longer term well being of the whole Nation, not just a slim segment thereof. Cor Blimee. reading that back makes me I sound like the bearded leader of the Political party I was pleased to vote for many times since the 1964 General election and the then younger breat of fresh air Harold Wilson. Cannot see me voting for the party in the red corner ever again the way things are evolving and gaining …. momentum.

      Some, nay many say we’re doomed. I for one not only hope they are wrong I am convinced they are. Speaking to the wide circle of friends of my twenty and thirty something sons, the future for the young will be brighter in the UK’s longer term. They know it will not happen overnight.

      Meantime, I have the rolling 24/7/365 News on my TV as I type this. I get the impression that their “Get May” and “Get Trump” agenda is becoming worse. God forbid they should ever not only get behind the woman PM who has the most difficult task ahead of her of any UK Prime Minister since WWII, but to actively support her in possitive ways. Fat Chance.

      Soon I will switch Channels to FREEVIEW 233 and see what media smoothies SKY pull in to comment on the headlines in tomorrow’s newspapers. Expect more of the “Get May” and Get Trump” agenda content. Go on then watch and prove me wrong. Same old same old I’d bet a nice few quid on it. The lefties will be the more vociferous. Encouraged even… :thumbsdown: Show me your money trees then… The money trees are there of course. They are the taxpayers who have to work hard to earn that hard to come by.

  23. This whole debate misses the point by miles.
    Somebody please give me an example from history of a forced political union that ended with a unified homogeneous society.
    Even 800 years after the English conquered Wales, the Welsh are trying to escape. Quite how anybody thinks a political union with the baggage of Europe is going to end in anything other than total disaster is beyond me. You need to start looking past the end of your noses to the far future. Do you want your great grandchildren to be in a continental civil war or not?
    Chris.

    • I would have thought that 800 years is a pretty good and stable union, but are you really suggesting that Wales is a significantly different society to the rest of the UK? I visited Wales last year and it seemed pretty homogenous with the rest of the UK to me.

      Whilst some people in Wales want independence, not all of them do and if the details in this article from July 2016 are correct, https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/third-voters-would-back-independence-11567766, then 35% of Welsh voters said they would vote for independence if they could stay in the EU. This article from July 2016, https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/wales-would-vote-53-47-11566937, says that excluding the don’t knows, then Wales would vote 53% to 47% to remain in the EU if there was a second referendum. And in this article, https://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/politics/plaid-push-independence-wales-after-11533555, Leanne Wood, the leader of Plaid Cymru, is quoted as saying… ““It is my belief that this independent Wales in a completely different context to last week’s referendum would want to be a part of the European Union.”

      Now those polls are 20 months old so things might have changed, but if they are still representative then it seems that Wales only wants to split from the UK because of Brexit, and then would want to re-join the EU. An odd form of escape.

      You raise a good point about grandchildren and nobody would disagree. If they were still alive, my Grandfather who fought in the first world war, and my father who fought in the second world war, would certainly say they did not want me to have to fight in another one.

      After two world wars in the first half of the 20th century that began in mainland Europe, some of the affected countries decided to create a union, which eventually became the EU of today, with one of the objectives being to prevent their going to war again. These people clearly had the welfare of their grandchildren in mind and for more than 70 years have been successful in that objective. France and Germany, both strong believers in maintaining the EU, have much more painful memories of those wars than we have. There are problems in Europe and serious risks of some old embers flaring up again, but doesn’t it make sense to be a part of, and influencing, the union that has averted another war amongst those former enemies?

      I think my father and grandfather would be pleased at the foresight of those 1950s Europeans in preventing another war by creating a union that countries joined voluntarily, not through force. I am certainly grateful that I have never had to fight.

      When I look to the future I think that wars can best be prevented by unions and partnerships, not by division. The value of the EU is more than just economic.

  24. John, you have a strange concept of what constitutes FAKE NEWS ( your caps ).

    If I were to read “The wettest summer for 5 years” that would suggest to me that 6 years ago the summer was even wetter. Hence “lowest value for 35 years” to me acknowledges that 36 years ago it was even lower. I see no deception in that.

    Sterling did indeed devalue rapidly from $1.49 on the night before the election to $1.32 on 27th June. Most people would consider that an unusual event with significant implications and very definitely newsworthy. The recovery that you allude to from $1.32 via some deeper lows to tonight’s price of $1.38 some 18 months later is hardly the same in terms of size or speed.

    For those of us who read beyond the headlines, the article no doubt went on to report the negative aspects of this, such as it being a reflection of a lack of international confidence in our economy, and that it will increase the cost of living by making those goods that we import more expensive. And the positive aspects that it will make our exports more competitive and make our financial markets more attractive to to foreign investment.

    I’m glad that the press is like this: read a variety of publications and you will be exposed to a variety of points of view.

    It seems that you would like the press to publish only pieces that support your opinion. Whilst your views are clearly passionately held your attempts to discredit anything that challenges them as conspiracy and lies does you no favours.

    Have you ever described yourself as a very stable genius?

  25. Indeed how the hell did we end up here? Ask any Mailtard or Expesstard what advantage we’ll get from leaving Europe and the single market and they will cry – we will be able to trade with the rest of the world! Well JLR’s results are in and their biggest growth markets yet again are China and the US – all achieved whilst the UK remains in Europe! Do they imagine for one minute that in March 2019 or after whatever transition period takes place we will have negotiated trade deals as good as let alone better than the arrangements we have negotiated as part of the EU with these countries? And even if we do end up with similar trade arrangements with them we will likely have thrown away tariff free/frictionless trade with one of the worlds largest trading blocks just a few miles across the English Channel. Meanwhile whilst all the Government does is try and find a Brexit solution that will do bugger all for the country, but allow it to keep it limping on in office, the real issues – Health, Education, Transport Infrastructure etc are all being ignored and all being comprehensively trashed before our eyes. “Great” Britain? Bloody laughing stock more like. I could weep.

  26. To add something to my previous (rather long) comment trying to alert people who care about the future of UK car manufacturing to what is being discussed in the “ivory towers” of the “hard Brexiteers” the following passage is copied directly from the report published yesterday (Feb 12th 2018) by The Policy Exchange.

    “The British economy does not have to produce its own food, cars or textiles to be a success – and especially so, if these industries are not sustainable without tariff protection. Australia, for example, recently ended domestic car production”.

    This report, by a group of right-wing economists, got major coverage in the press yesterday (Feb 12th 2018). It was the basis for an article in the Daily Telegraph (for example) headlined “Scrap tariffs to pile pressure on EU for best Brexit deal, ministers told”.

    The full report can be downloaded from the Policy Exchange website. Essentially it accepts that a “hard Brexit” (unilateral abolition of import tariffs combined with trade with the EU on “WTO terms”) would be bad news for the car industry in the UK, but sees this as “a price worth paying”.

    I am fairly certain that many of the people who cheer on supporters of “hard Brexit” such as Jacob Rees-Mogg are unaware of this (and much else which tends to be kept in the shadows).

    Brexit as such need not be a disaster for car manufacturing in the UK. If today’s tariff-free and frictionless access to the 27 countries of the EU market (which took 53% of car exports from the UK in 2017 – or around half of total production) can be maintained, if disruption to supply chains is minimized, if the UK is still able to export to countries beyond the EU under the terms of current EU free trade agreements with those countries (that accounts for an additional 10% of UK car exports), and if something can be negotiated regarding “rules of origin” so that cars built by Ford on the continent (for example) with British sourced engines from Bridgend/Dagenham, are not disqualified from being of “EU origin” and thus excluded from those same free trade agreements – then everything may continue much as today.

    But all those points depend on a comprehensive deal being negotiated with the EU (which remains the official objective of the government). It’s the calls from the right – for “no deal”, for a “clean break”, for “just walking away” etc. which should worry people (like myself) who hope that car manufacturing in the UK is not about to start shrinking.

    • Chris, that “soft” severance that would be the ideal you seek was never on the cards ever since the polls closed on 23-06-2016. That’s why a No Deal is becoming increasingly a more attractive option. Of course that will come along with some real concerns. The ideal for this Nation will never be available. The very existence of the EU is under threat since our referendum and for that reason, our “friends” on the mainland who never play fair will maintain that stance. Numerous UK PMs have tried to negotiate with the EU with beneficial to the UK reforms in mind and all have failed miserably to secure them. That will never change. Get used to it … I have.

      You mention Australia no longer has in-house car manufacturing plans. Apples, Pears and even Oranges comparison scenario. Unlike these small Islands, massive Australia has a huge reserve of natural resources to exploit and provide employment which is in effect far more beneficial to their much smaller population land mass resource ratio. Compare that to the situation here in the UK. Our main natural resource is the work ethic of the people. Consider the disproportionate UK ~ population size ratio. The comparison is beyond apples and oranges. Australia puts their Nation 1st as anyone viewing their immigration strict guidelines policy will soon reveal. Rightly so. with so much Natural Resources and relatively fewer people to provide worthwhile jobs and carers for, do they need a car industry at the moment? …. Anyway, the indigenous volume UK Car Industry finally moved from being an endangered species on the RED LIST to complete extinction back in April 2005. Not without some considerable bad judgement UK Government assist. Indeed, there were news reports that they deliberately managed things in such a way to torpedo any chance of a joint-venture or partnership with an Oriental company simply because by then the asset stripped remnants of the once massively asset rich former Rover Group was a private company. There again, those news reports could well have been inaccurate… fake even…..

      One needs to pose the question: Does the UK have a Car Industry? … no it does not. All the volume outfits currently here are now in alien ownership and control. That in effect, means they are “trojan horse” arrangements who have frequently warned long before any sign of a referendum, when it suits them they will up sticks and be gone. That they have not is due to those news reports ( ? fake ) that many under the counter financial inducements to stay were involved. There’s always more to these things than we are allowed to have access to on a “need to know” basis.

      When it suits them, not us, the so called “UK Car Industry” will be gone. Simply a matter of time. They marked our cards many moons ago. Do not take my word for it, ask the folks around Eastleigh and elsewhere who used to build Transits. News reports at the time of that move away from the UK suggested it was assisted in no small way by our own money man Chancellor of the Exchequer. Mind you, that was probably FAKE.

      It’s what we as a Nation do… or just maybe DID. Here the past participle may be deployed with less fake news accuracy since June 23rd 2016.

      Still, why should I give a care or damn? So, yah-boo-sucks to all you plebs…. I’m Alright Jack ….
      /
      /
      /
      /
      /
      /… for now.

      • John, The reference to Australia was not mine. It is a quote taken from the report of the Policy Exchange (as I think I made pretty clear). I flagged it up to illustrate how the “thinkers” behind a “unilateral abolition of tariffs” Brexit – (which incidentally, certainly wasn’t on the ballot paper in 2016) have already begun thinking in terms of a large scale contraction of car manufacturing in the UK. It certainly is a bad parallel (though that didn’t stop them choosing it) because the Australian car industry (all of it “foreign owned” incidentally) was almost totally focused on the small domestic market – and always struggled to be internationally competitive (meaning Australians were paying more for their cars than they needed to one could argue).
        Car manufacturing in the UK is totally different. It’s much larger and focused heavily on export. As the SMMT data (which I notice in your many posts you seem to distrust for some reason) makes crystal clear, 8 out of 10 cars manufactured in the UK were exported in 2017. Of those 1.35 Million exports, 53.9% went to the other 27 countries of the EU (not including the UK as you seem to think – those wouldn’t be “exports”). And those 27 EU countries were the “end destination”. There is not some kind of “Rotterdam effect” distorting the figures. A further 15.7% of exports went to the USA. These kind of statistics are recognized internationally as accurate. I’ve included a link to the full SMMT data for 2017 and I strongly recommend anyone who cares about the future of car manufacturing in the UK reads it.
        Rather tragically, it seems that with the car industry, as with so many other things likely to be impacted by Brexit – people are becoming educated about the realities of the industrial landscape in Britain only through the process of destruction. “You don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” as the song goes ….
        https://www.smmt.co.uk/2018/01/2017-uk-car-manufacturing-declines-3-still-second-biggest-output-since-turn-century/

        • You write as though mnassive contraction of UK Industry including the automotive sector is some new phenomenon. It is not. I will repeat one more time, those plants in alien ownership and control have warned many, many times years, nay over a decade ago that when it suits them, not us, they will be gone.

          That the Japanese trio, Ford and GM are still here with token foothold plants is mainly due to Government inducements using taxpayers’ hard to come by.

          Inducements come in many forms. Decades ago my daily commutes in my very reliable British car covering many thousands of miles, took me past a beautiful greenfield site now covered by Honda Plant. Saw it being erected each day I passed. Access to greenfield sites just one inducement. Same with some of the others whilst the now rust belt which was Londbridge reminds me of when I drove past empty places like Ryton and elsewhere. This “massive contraction” of UK Industry has been ongoing for decades. It is nothing new and not BREXIT related. It has been generated by the poor decision short term myopic quick fixes by those we entrust to the Nation’s well being demonstrating time and again that they are not fit for purpose. They will not understand the meaning of longer term if you buried them under a pile of Dictionaries. As it does not immediately or ever impact on any of thjobs for life who suck for decades on the taxpayers’ teats, in my opinion that means they do not have any motivation to really care. Things are just fine and aint broke … for them.

          There are notable exceptions. A few really do care who have all the benefits of a privileged background, taxpayer generous jobs for life and an upbringing that would enable them to be like the majority of the “It aint broke for me” remainers, cushioned against realities which face the less fortunate every day.

          Here we must accuse the likes of Farage, Rees-Mogg and Boris J of being guilty of caring. Yes caring sufficiently when always cushioned against those harsher realities most of the rest of us face. Thus there’s no real incentive to put their heads above the fence and get shot at with their stance on severing the increasingly parasitical connection to the thriving Nations ( Cue much eye rolling ) of the Union on the mainland.

          That they do set themselves up as an easy meat target for the more vociferous aspects of remainer-rage, particularly by our oh so unbiased UK media, demonstrates to me a level of sincerity and integrity few others of those we entrust to the Nation’s well being possess.

          Now tell me my judgement of my fellow men and women is suspect, nay… all a’cock despite more than three decades of paying attention observing them.

          I watched the BBC News coverage of the BJ ( 🙂 ) speech earlier. BBC posted alongside it a panel showing emails from viewers. In the interests of unbiased balance, every one was full of excessive negativity. Not a single positive shown up to the time I switched over to SKY coverage of the speech and questions.

          Now retired, a close acquaintance worked in the BBC for most of their career. If a topic received 1000 letters and 99% were for or against, the broadcasting organ would select say two of each side to broadcast which gave the false impression of equal responses when the exact opposite was the reality. That was a long time ago and I would argue back then that the BBC is very balanced and unbiased on things like this. With the passing of time I now see abd realise I was wrong and the words straight from “the Horse’s mouth” were indeed the more accurate appraisal of the situation.

          O U T ….The sooner the better. With the longer term, not quick fix immediate future in mind. This Nation has gone it alone in many tough situations in the past and succeeded. I believe it still has sufficient quantities of the “Right Stuff” to be successful again.

  27. Amazing isn’t it? We lead the world in Motorsport technology yet we can’t design, build and manufacture a volume car under a wholly British flag that every UK driver can afford and would be proud to own. I don’t believe this has happened by accident.

    Why is it that those that wish to remain in the EU are aggressive in their language? ‘right wing nutjob’ ‘Mailtard or Expesstard’ A famous prime minister once said that to resort to insult means that your argument is lost.

    It needs to be realised that the economy was not the main reason why the majority who voted out did so and recent negotiations have exposed the EU for what they really are. People are seeing their neighbourhoods, towns and cities changing almost overnight, medical appointments hard to come by and housing in short supply, they maybe naive, but these are the real issues for the majority of the 52%.

    One final thought if Rees-Mogg is a nutjob, what does that make Anna Sobury?

    • Motorsport designers only need to meet a spec, with almost no worries about marketing & production quality that BL, Chrysler UK et al managed to get as near as “play to lose” as possible in the 1970s, hence no home grown car industry.

      The remainers are aggressive because they can see the country has been sold a pup & trying their best to reverse it, even a Norway style soft deal would probably make enough happy, but the government is trying their best to go for a hard brexit without any kind of plan. As can be seen above the leavers are just as rabid if not more so, like a bunch of zombies in some cases.

      If people are going to blame immigrants rather than the long term unemployed then nothing will be sorted, remember nature abhors a vacuum.

      • You’re absolutely right the long term unemployed are a problem but they’re our own homegrown problem. Importing 250,000 people every year offering them healthcare, homes and other assorted benefits, not to mention policing and burdening our infrastructure is not going to ‘sort’ it.

        Bringing in people to do the low paid jobs (which is exactly what globalists want) will not get our own people back to work and remember not all immigrants work and horror of horrors they too get old, its all one big ponzi scheme.

        • Yet KGC there are those, like the bearded Money Tree Grower in the Red Corner, would have us believe that the NHS is underfunded. The truth is that it consumes huge amounts of the UK taxpayers, not the Governement’s money. It is NOT under funded, it is over subscribed by demand.

          Then again there are those who accuse the likes of Farage of spinning the “Health Tourism” myth.

          Not recently but about ten years ago, pensioner me took an aged relative to the outpatients at the main City Hospital. My heart sank when we arrived. The waiting room was heaving with folks waiting for appointments. The fact that my elderly relative and I were almost certainly the only two folks there with English as their first language is merely pure coincidence.

          Move on five years and see me at Terminal 5 Arrivals Heathrow waiting to picvk up my son. Killing some time, got talking to an immigrant taxi driver waiting for a pick-up. We saw a heavily gravid female waddling towards the taxis. He remarked that that is far from an unusual sight, his brother works at a nearby NHS facility and confirms the situation about the health tourism myth is no myth at all.

          Only last year, Mrs Big John asked me to pop into the local Drs Surgery and pick up a prescription for here. Again I was sixth in the queue for service at the reception and I listened to the folks in front of me in the queue as they spoke to the receptionist.Again I’d bet a nice few quid that those where English is not the first language outnumbered the likes of me where it was.

          Finally, regarding first language, that immigrant taxi driver at heathrow told me that those “arrivals” often have some English, with phrases like “I want Hospital NHS”… that from an immigrant of all people! He had very god English by the way despite English not being his first language.

          Still our “anti” media stress immigration has negligible effect on the NHS. Then moving swiftly on, they report the news item of that gravid female with her four fetuses diverting from Trump’s America to England to have them delivered. That caused some stir but, the media soon produced some “nothing to worry about here” know-all experts who advise that the half a million that single visit cost the British taxpayers and the NHS was of little consequence in the grand scheme of things.

          You couldn’t make this stuff up!

          I always regarded that Farage geezer as a bit of a pork pie vendor. Health Tourism.. As if…Just one of his many porkies….

          Just one facet of what is happening and will continue as the world and his wife form queues to take advantage of a generous Nation… full of mugs!

          Praise be that on June 23rd 2016, the Nation of mugs may just have woken up in time to actually do something about the negative aspects of our open door free access to all policies and EU membership in sufficient numbers to ensure positive and worthwhile changes. Before those queues of non UK passport holders to gain access to UK largess get much longer. It not about racism, it really IS a simple matter of economics and securing a better future for the longer well being of this Nation and its people. Not to do anything about it does not bear thinking about. Those that think this little Nation is sufficiently rich enough to right all the wrongs of the Planet are quite simply wrong. Britain has indulged that futile pursuit a few times in the not too distant past and is still paying for it with ever increasing debt.

          Our “we’re cleverer than yow” media still mainly would have us ignorant plebs believe that the way things are should continue to be and is the way to go. Way to go being the operative words and so very apt. Pay yourselves even more media classes, you are so obviously meritoriously worthy.

          • Well said, our media are a big problem (the BBC being the biggest protagonist) always talking the UK down. Sadly vast swathes of the population can’t see this.

    • Some salient points there KGC.

      Particularly your good closing question. Anna Soubry is an ex-media news presenter turned Member of Parliament who the media repeatedly pull up every time they deploy their anti-OUT mode. Which appears very frequently with precious few presenter exceptions, to be the main thrust of their “We’re ever so cleverer than you OUT plebs” highly over rewarded presenter line up.

      Soubry is rightly concerned for her constituents who may lose jobs as a result of the severance from the EU. Good for her. That unfortunately is far from the overall picture. What she and the numerous media types who put her so frequently in front of the cameras fail miserably to do, is ask her how many millions of UK jobs have been destroyed or moved to the mainland as a result of the forty odd years of the UK’s membership of the parasitical monster so called Union of Europe. Indeed, that UK jobs to the EU mainland process has been the less than covert EU agenda for decades.

      Here those media failures to highlight such things purely in the interest of what they tell us is unbiased and balanced reporting are headed by no less than the statute funded Broadcasting Organ. Talk about cushioned against the harsher realities most of the rest of us face daily with their guaranteed fat revenue stream, they can afford their “Why fix it if it aint broke” stance. Indeed, spend more time finding ways to increase their already excessively greedy disproportionate remuneration package…because they are so worth it! It aint broke for them with that guaranteed revenue stream which, provided it is not news of the fake variety, includes some of the UK Taxapayers’ hard to come by to the EU being re-channelled directly back to the BBC from that shower in Brussels. Maybe such reports are fake… Roll those eyes.

      Never mind the quality of their fake news balance and lack of bias, feel the width of their unbiased balanced reporting of the whole range of facts … er… as they see them. Not to be confused with what those facts actually are!

      News just in :~

      Over on another very cosmopolitan Car Enthusiasts’ web site, there’s a long running topic ( seven years no less ) entitled :~

      “Political bias at BBC – something has to be done surely”

      Makes for some interesting reading comparing the various exchanges of opinions on that topic. A search should turn it up if anyone is sufficiently interested.

      Anna Soubry can never be accused of being guilty of telling the whole story as it really is. Media imbalance and bias still permeates her every fibre. It appears permanent and no known cure.

      Only in the UK… Still excelling at …. you know the rest or should do.

      The media will never warm to Jacob Rees-Mogg. He is exceedingly guilty of telling it like it is even if some of what he says will harm his position in the political scene. Unlike single parent raised East End of Old London Town accent moi, I can look and listen beyond his obvious privileged status in life. He has unusual qualities which I admire and are rarely found in any UK politician. That he along with Farage can tie the “We’re cleverer that you” media types up in knots without the need for crib sheets in front of them, are very admirable qualities in my books. I write as someone who has mainly voted for the team in Red for most of my adult life so my bias maybe a tad obvious to some. However, this “Leopard” has changed the spots of a lifetime in recent years. I even became a paying member of a Political Party for a period. Not now and it was not a party in either the Red or Blue corner… 🙂

      Ever onwards and the sooner the better.

      Hey! Wonders never cease. It’s actually stopped raining heavily and the gale force winds have subsided. I can venture out and do some much needed TLC on my old MGs and Rovers.

      Praise be! Brexit delivers yet again.. :ROFL:

    • No – KGC – The disappearance of a “native” volume car industry has not happened by accident. You are right.
      As regular readers of AROnline will know, it has happened as a consequence of the industrial strategy of the British government.
      In a nutshell – having concentrated nearly all of our “indigenous” car industry into one company (BL) and having attempted to help it compete through generous subsidies (BL received over £2 billion in government aid over 1975-85 – around £12 billion in today’s money) – the Conservative government of the ’80s developed an industrial strategy for the automotive sector which revolved around encouraging foreign investment.
      A lot of effort was spent “seducing” the Japanese to make the UK their European production base. In 1985-86 Nissan was receiving government aid to build their Sunderland plant at the same time as Austin Rover was being told to scale back investment (and cancel projects like the AR6 Metro replacement) because the government refused to provide the required funding.

      Seen from Whitehall, such inward investment delivered nearly all the economic benefits for the UK that might have been expected from a strong, recovered and internationally competitive BL – a prospect which by the early eighties the policy-makers had given up hope on. (Namely – exports plus import substitution to help the trade balance, Jobs and the associated tax revenues, Corporation tax revenues (rather than the subsidies traditionally associated with BL), regional prosperity and valuable work for British companies in the supply chain.

      And who were the people driving this strategy? Ironically they are cut from the same cloth (and in some cases are the same people) as those now arguing for a “hard Brexit”. Free-marketeers opposed to state intervention in industry, whose ethos dictates that if a British industry cannot compete internationally unaided, it should be left to die.

      Perhaps the best example in John Redwood. In the eighties he was working in the CPRS (Central Policy Review Staff) attached to Downing Street. He was instrumental in driving forward the strategy that saw BL forced to become increasingly reliant on Honda and give up most “indigenous” vehicle development – while pushing hard for privatization. (You may remember BL was almost sold off to Ford and/or GM in 1986 – with only fear of a public outcry in the wake of Westland stopping the sale).

      The shape of today’s automotive sector in the UK was largely determined in that period – by such people. Worth thinking about.

      • Chris
        The problem with blaming the Thatcher government of the Eighties is the fact that it had heavilly invested in BL, and Austin Rover in particular, blew it big time with the Maestro and Montego. Had they sold in anything like the numbers expected, the governments industrial strategy may have been wholly different. These cars completely destroyed the governments confidence in the British motor industry. It is alright bemoaning the govenments lack of investment in the AR6, but Austin Rover had just demonstrated that they were completely incapable of delivering reliable well put together cars, and inviting the Japanese in seemed a sensible solution at the time.

  28. By the way, my thanks to Keith for kicking over this particular Anthill. It has been and continues to be very interesting reading.

  29. The UK went from balanced trade to massive trade deficits rapidly after joining the EU in 1973.
    The UK became a net importer from the EU and British exports to the EU have grown more slowly than other non EU countries like the US and Canada.
    In fact, the UK’s exports to the EU have not grown at all for a decade and are now smaller than the UK’s exports to the rest of the world.
    The overall economic growth rate of western European countries outside the of EU has been faster than those in the EU, and the UK has experienced uniquely slower growth.
    The assertion that indigenous British industry has benefited in regard to global trade, global exports, or trade within the EU via its membership in the EU, is simply not supported by the facts. To the contrary, membership in the EU appears to have exposed British markets to lower cost foreign producers while simultaneously stymieing British competitiveness with foreign regulations.

    For those concerned about the risks associated with a Brexit, look not to Britain which has little to lose and much to gain, but to the EU itself. The UK is the second largest economy in the EU. If the EU has geopolitical ambitions, losing the UK would also strip it of the bulk of its military relevancy. The UK invests 50% more in its military than the next largest EU spender, Germany.

    Germany and the UK have been the wings keeping the EU aloft. Without the UK, the EU would be left flying with one wing, heavily loaded and aerodynamically unstable. Perhaps the more pressing question is will the Germans want to remain in an EU absent the UK?

    It’s Much Ado About Not Much Trade. If no agreement is forthcoming by that March 2019, both sides might agree to extend negotiations, but that only seems likely if there is a good prospect of an agreement. Otherwise, Britain leaves and falls back on WTO trading rules, or does away with tariffs altogether. This is seen by the EU negotiators as a threat to Britain, believing it is Britain which is running out of time. If Britain wants a trade deal, she must make it clear that a no-deal option is attractive to her. The negotiations only cover a minor part of the UK’s overall economy. WTO tariffs apply to physical goods, involving only £143bn exported from the UK’s £2,000 billion economy to the EU, and imports from the EU of a larger £235.5bn. Excluding agricultural products of some £5bn (net of spirits), average trade-weighted tariffs on goods imported into the EU from non-member states without a trade agreement is only 2.3%.[i] Therefore, the EU’s external tariffs which will be applied to UK non-agricultural goods exports to the EU involves only 7.5% of the UK’s GDP, and is a tax on EU citizens amounting to roughly £2bn. Is this really worth arguing over, and paying massive divorce fees?

    The larger issue is services, differentiating between services sold to consumers, such as retail investments, and wholesale services, such as capital market operations, commercial lending, legal services, architectural services, etc. The retail services involved are not material, and in any event are easily distributed through locally-incorporated subsidiaries in Dublin and Luxembourg. Wholesale services are generally excluded from trade agreements for practical reasons.

    Therefore, if a trade agreement is not forthcoming, the cost to British business as a whole is not as material as the Remainers and lobbying businesses have it, and certainly less than the implied cost of normal currency volatility on cross-border settlements. One should conclude that the absence of a trade agreement costs considerably less than the UK Government paying money to the EU for an implementation period.

    • Which are the Western European Nations that are outside the EU, which you claim have faster growth than those within the EU? Are you going to claim that if we had not joined the EU we would have matched oil and gas rich Norway or the small industrial power house that is Switzerland?

      What are these EU regulations that you claim have killed UK industry, but somehow don’t seem to affect German and Swedish manufactuers for example?

      You make lots of assertions but you provide no evidence, as Hitchen’s would say extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence and yet you provide none!

  30. Please someone explain to me the point of this article.

    Yes the UK motor industry is important. JLR is the biggest player by far (26 billion turnover compared to 5 billion for Nissan UK). 80% of their sales are not to the EU.

    So what’s the issue?

    Worst case scenario (and it’s highly unlikely) is that there’s a mutual 10& tariff for about two months until BMW screams blue murder, at which point there’ll be an FTA agreed in no time.

    Meanwhile the UK does its own trade deals with India, the US and China.

  31. I well remember the glory days before entering the EU and can’t wait for the return of the three day week. If we couldn’t survive outside the EU without sliding into “managed decline” in the 60s and 70s then it will be interesting to see what happens next.

      • Yes I remember that well working and living through the 3 day week… Despite the obvious problems of the 3 day week, it soon emerged that it united the Nation and overcame any adverse effects. Folks really were more friendly, helpful and cooperative during that period.

        Should a similar adverse circumstance occur now, I doubt that would be the case in the current me, me me and I’m alright environment. Remainer-rage everywhere both on and off our roads too so obviously BREXIT must carry the blame for that … 😉

        Remainer-rage…. you heard it here last.

      • Apart from that he’s quite accurate, especially with no trade deals in place, that too many people who should know better think can be drafted up in a few days instead of the years they will take.

        • Anyone with even a passing knowledge of modern history knows the domestic decline spanned the 60’s to the 80’s and most of the 70’s was spent inside the Common Market.

          Of course there will be trade deals and there will be specific trade agreements, not just FTA’s and overall trade treaties. And trade will continue and tarrifs and quota’s can also take time to put up as much as they can come down quickly. Yes I know its not simple and black and white. Life’s like that. That’s common sense, not just hoped-for prediction and supposition such as yours. How many times will some get the forecasts wrong before admitting the fault lies with them?

          I’m looking forward to part 2 of this article where Keith predicts the rise to 3.5 million of UK car production because the customs union split apparently means production goes to where the market is. Or were none of you clever enough to get that?

  32. Plenty of evidence as soon as you step away from the mainstream Guardianista press and start to think for yourself.
    Western European Nations outside EU: Iceland, Switzerland, Croatia until 2014, and Norway. BTW we were oil/gas/coal rich like Norway. The UK was also an industrial powerhouse up until the 1970s. BL was the largest car company in the world larger than GM. You probably dont remember. I can remember being proud of the cars, motorcycles, trains and planes we produced, all world class.
    EU regulations. It’s pretty obvious you arén’t an engineer. Well take consumer water meters as a trivial example. A few years ago I was involved in the purchase of several thousand of these. Due to a poor specification we were trying to clutch at straws and found some text in the specs that referenced EU standards. I found 5 pieces of legislation on these little rascals going back to the 1970s all contradictory. We had to go back to the Client with our tails between our legs…
    The Swedish car industry – well Saab is no more and Volvo is a Chinese assembly company now.
    EU Legislation – look at the diesel engine fiasco. How much did that cost VW? My friend was involved with the development of the JCB diesel engine and he told me at the time there was no way diesel engines could comply with the EU emissions legislation. The EURO standards are changing each year and represent a moving target, engines are not properly debugged as before they can be the goal posts have moved again. They run inside the warranty then when they are outside start developing faults that are too expensive to rectify.
    One reason Germany has been successful as the Euro has been rigged at a value that suits the German economy. Trouble is it hasnt done much for the Southern European economies. Look on youtube for some documentaries about what its done to ordinary people in Greece.
    Anyway all this debate is pretty meaningless as Europe is broke and cant keep on printing money. One day soon the house of cards will collapse. I predict it will be the Italian banks that will precipitate it. Ever heard of TARGET II? Did you hear what Greenspan said recently about the Euro? (You seem to like name dropping).

    • Among other things – British Leyland was never bigger than General Motors. At its peak (shortly after formation in 1968) it was the second biggest car manufacturer in Europe (after Volkswagen).

    • As I suspected, no valid evidence, let look at the many lies you present.

      Norway that would be a country with larger ´natural energy resources than the UK yet a population of just 5 million people. It also of course has an open border with the EU and adopts EU regulations.

      Croatia, since when was Croatia in Western Europe! You would have to reference its performance v other East European country. A country which in 2012 voted 68% to join the EU.

      Switzerland a country which has passed much of the EU legislation so it be part of the single market.

      As for the Britain being an “Industrial Powerhouse until the 1970s” and the false statement “BL was a bigger car producer than GM”. Your ignorance astounds me, clearly you do not know your history and its clear you could learn much by reading this excellent Web Site. I would also point out to you that the UK Motorcycle industry was all but dead by the time we joined the Common Market. Its since risen again in its small way while we have been members of the EU.

      Some guff about Water Meters, which really does not make any sense, given that such legislation (if it ever existed and is not some Brexit Wet Dream you have had) is applied via an EU directive, which are then adopted into each nations own national legislation through a process of alignment. If you found the regulations confusing in the UK, then your issue is with the “UK Sovereign Parliament” not the EU.

      Volvo is not a Chinese assembly company, AB Volvo that manufacturers Truck, Bus, Construction Equipment, Marine Engines and Power Generators under the Volvo, Renault Truck, Mack Truck, United Diesel and has global partnerships throughout the world and is a Swedish owned company.

      Volvo Cars which is owned by Geeley, not only designs, engineers and manufactures its cars in Sweden, but also Geeley is establishing its new Global design centre in Gothenburg.

      the Euro emission standards do not change each year
      Euro 1 was 92
      Euro 2 was 96
      Euro 3 was 00
      Euro 4 was 05
      Euro 5a was 09
      Euro 5b was 11
      Euro 6 was 14

      And it is utter rubbish that a Diesel Engine cannot be manufactured to meet these Standards.

      And finally the often repeated Brexit lie that Germany has rigged the Euro to boost its exports. Let us look however at the evidence, if the Euro was at an artificially low level the German economy would as a result be suffering inflation. German inflation is at 1.6% v the UK rate of 3%, from which we can conclude the Euro rate is not out of balance with the German economy.

      So we can conclude that you have no evidence to support your bizarre view that the UK decline as a manufacturer was induced by us joining the Common Market.

  33. It seems you are unable to debate without being rude and making snide and demeaning comments as i see your other postings. This isn’t really the forum for this and out of respect for the good work Keith does I will not say what I would like to!

    You also use a well known tactic of making false assumptions that the person you disagree with never made then rubbishing them. This manner of discourse appears to be typical of remoaners. Hence I aren’t going to waste my time refuting most of your so-called fallacious ‘facts’ and arguments.

    e.g. Where did I attribute the decline of the UK motorcycle industry to the EU? I just said I was proud of it in the 1960s. Incidentally you dont seem to know much about that either.

    As I said you obviously aren’t an engineer! (I notice you didn’t answer that one) You evidently don’t understand how products are specified. No point in wasting my time explaining when you insult my intelligence.

    ‘the Euro emission standards do not change each year’. Yes sorry every couple of years until VW put a stop to it.You also only referred to ONE set of Euro emission standards – actually there are 8 but lets not let facts get in the way.

    You also don’t understand how dirty diesel engines inherently are and seem to know more about them than the engineers on the JCB diesel engine program.

    You said
    “it is utter rubbish that a Diesel Engine cannot be manufactured to meet these Standards.”

    A new study (Sept 2017) by the independent research organization International Council on Clean Transportation compiles the test results for 541 Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel passenger cars. For Euro 6 vehicles, the average real-world level of nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions is 4.5 times above the Euro 6 limit. Only 10% of Euro 6 cars outperform the Euro 6 limit, while the rest of vehicles exceed the Euro 6 standard by up to 12 times. (this WHY VW and others were fudging the tests – because they cant meet the standards!)

    Seems like you are the one talking utter rubbish.

    Not sure what the link to to an undervalued currency and inflation, its obvious you do not understand economics either. I thought the classical theory of economics stated inflation was caused by too much money chasing too few goods (excluding external price shocks). Better tell the BoE they have it wrong with the next rate rise.

    As for the comment about the Sun readers etc I think that shows a high degree of arrogance and contempt for some members of society, all too common sadly.

    • “As for the comment about the Sun readers etc I think that shows a high degree of arrogance and contempt for some members of society, all too common sadly.”

      If people just keep believing the same old lies again & again they deserve to be treated that way.

      • Lies? Have you never heard of Project Fear?

        In 2017, the UK economy expanded by 1.8% in spite of the constant barrage of adverse propaganda designed to reduce investment, discourage growth, concern the markets, and unsettle the population. The UK economy grew in 2017.

        If only we had been a member of the Euro , growth would have been stratospheric…

          • ….But in case you’ve haven’t realised we still happen to be in the EU, that figure is yet to be proved wrong..

            That was my last on this subject, there’s none so blind as those who can’t see.

            Thanks to Keith for allowing us to mull this over.

          • The figure used on the bus was correct but misleading in 3 ways. £350 million a week is the contribution to the EU but not all of it is necessarily sent to the EU as there is a rebate of about £100 million (probably sent and returned rather than not sent in the first place). Secondly there is about £90 million that goes into things from the EU as funding, which would have to be covered. Thirdly, it wasn’t quite clear enough for the less intelligent among us that it wasn’t suggesting it should all be spent on the NHS. if it had stated ‘let’s spend the money on the NHS instead’ I could understand people jumping to conclusions, but it didn’t. It said ‘lets fund the NHS instead’.

            I doubt any leave voters would change their vote if they had got the wrong idea at the time and subsequently corrected and it seems unlikely too many leave voters would make the mistake in the first place. If you are happy to admit as a remainder that you got the wrong end of the stick fine, but why are so many staunch remainders not only misreading the message on the bus, but still haven’t understood it after all this time?

            The rebate and the money that comes from the EU to fund things if taken off the total would amount to about £160 million a week – or £8 billion a year, but if your taking the funding money off you can’t also claim it won’t be there after the leave process is complete. That double entry.

            None of project fear is coming true. Nothing catastrophic has or will happen prior to leaving. The only thing negative (with some positives too) has been the fall in the Pound – due to fear and subsequent affects of that fall. The Pound is pretty much at the limit of undervaluation, unlike the Euro which is heavily over-capitalised and needs continuous easing to stop it collapsing. The Pound hasn’t also continued to fall since 2017 and there is no reason to think it would start to do so post-BREXIT.

            Post-BREXIT Confidence can lead to investment held off etc but its not real or permanent. No one’s going to ignore economic opportunities just because they worry something bad might happen but don’t know what it is (or assume something is bad without stating why. You can’t just use circular logic – that the Pound will fall because the economy will tank and the economy will tank because the Pound will fall.

            If all remainders are left with is the argument ‘we will lose out because we sell them stuff and will pay more for the stuff we buy from them’ then they’re really not very clever. Replace the words ‘we’ with ‘they’, ‘them’ with ‘us’ and add ‘in the event of no trade deal and desiring to and being able to rapidly put loads of tariffs and quotas up on both sides’ and you have a more representative though unlikely scenario. Unlikely because you have one side nose-cutting one’s face and I don’t think they’ll do that as they didn’t in Part One of the talks.

  34. I have to ask the question to the far right brexiteers here – if our economy has grown 1.8% since the Brexit vote, how much would have it grown had we voted to remain? When Brexit was being pushed by Boris and Co the EU economy was falling apart according to so called experts, however last year it grew by 2.7%, the highest amount ever since the EU has existed.

    • Utterly typical of those who wish to remain, I’m sorry but to name call people who want to have their sovereignty back and ready access to services and health care that they fund ‘far right’ is beyond the pale. A quote direct from the BBC.

      • If you actually read my earlier post I did not want to stay in the EU as it is – its a monstrosity and bureaucratic nightmare but to completely jump ship from our biggest trading partner when many of our big employers are only based here because of free trade access is just right wing rhetoric. And who did the BBC quote that from? If you think we are going to get better Health Care and services when we are outside of the EU you are much mistaken – Boris £350m a week wont be there as we wont have the taxes to pay from them.

      • Not all people in favour of Brexit are “hard right”. There’s a spectrum of options for Brexit (as we all surely know by now) – and if a sensible trade deal is agreed with Europe then the future of car manufacturing in the UK (which we are supposed to be commenting on here) need not be bleak at all.
        But there is a body of opinion on the right which, if you care about the outlook for car production in Britain (and the 170,000 jobs directly involved and much more besides) is deeply alarming.
        This “wing” of opinion is typified by the Policy Exchange (a self-acknowledged group of right-wing economists) who are among those calling for a unilateral abolition of tariffs. I’m not going to try and spell out all the implications for the automotive sector of their report in this comment (!) but suffice to say they have no qualms about contemplating a total cessation of car manufacturing in the UK. If you want to read the full report, here’s the link: https://policyexchange.org.uk/publication/global-champion-the-case-for-unilateral-free-trade/
        And here’s a quote I found rather chilling:
        “The British economy does not have to produce its own food, cars or textiles to be a success – and especially so, if these industries are not sustainable without tariff protection. Australia, for example, recently ended domestic car production”.

        These people and their opinions may not be the absolute “mainstream” of Brexiteer thought but they tend to pick up a lot of support from people who think (blindly) “the harder the better”. It was of some concern that Boris Johnson chose to give his speech this week at the offices of the Policy Exchange (against a wall covered with their logo).

        And if Johnson is endorsing them, then one must mention that Jacob Rees-Mogg is endorsing the prescriptions of Patrick Minford and the “Economists for Free Trade”. He helped launch their proposals for a “WTO terms” Brexit and associated forecasts in November. Patrick Minford has been totally open about what he thinks should happen to UK manufacturing and the car industry. He expects (if his recipe is followed) that manufacturing would decline from 10% to 5% of GDP and production of “volume cars” (which one can read as Vauxhall, Honda, Toyota, Nissan) would have little future. This has been available for anyone to read since early 2016 when the report of his “Economists for Brexit” was published, though as far as I can tell almost nobody actually read it.

        I disagree with these people. I believe the UK should continue to plan for a future where we build motor vehicles, ideally roughly as many as we consume so there is not a huge trade deficit – but with the current model of most production being for export continuing.
        And although the car manufacturing sector is foreign owned that’s no reason to “write it off” as some people tend to. Let’s not forget that even 40 years ago 3 of the big 4 car manufacturers were foreign owned with the troubled British-owned BL accounting for only half of production.
        Being foreign owned doesn’t prevent the car industry from delivering huge economic benefits to the UK: Jobs, taxes paid by employees going to the Treasury, Corporation tax etc. paid to the Treasury, R&D investment, Work for (often British owned) companies in the supply chain, Prosperity for the community (who can deny that JLR is bringing great benefits to the West Midlands and Merseyside ?), A boost to the trade balance which makes us all better off. In short almost everything that could be expected of our “native” car industry and British Leyland in a good year (and there were many bad years).

    • I can’t speak for far-right people. There are elites and fascists on both sides I’m sure. But I’ll give it a try.

      You claim that BORIS and Co (I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt you weren’t just being politically partisan in your Leave description) said the EU economy was falling apart – that wasn’t my impression of what was said on the Leave side and the EU economy wasn’t a central issue to the campaign on either side at the time. The extremism was mostly on the remain side, it was prominent and especially surrounded the central argument that the UK economy both pre- and post-BREXIT would tank. It sounds as though you are trying to detract away from this.

      The UK economy did well for some time, then had a dip the Eurozone could only dream of, and its performance drop wasn’t due to the reasons set out by those who claimed the economy would crash. A weakened Pound was considered only as a consequence of economic failure, not as a cause – or as people such as yourself seem to think as the catastrophe itself. Catastrophic was and still is the word used most but if you find it difficult to learn from your mistakes or even recognize them then will continue to make the same unfounded false claims.

      There’s no denying the UK economy has seen a slow down most likely due to the devaluation of the Pound by currency speculators but possibly due to overheating, structural and balance problems and a long period of sustained growth. By contrast after stagnating, flat-lining and receiving yet more high stimulation, the Eurozone has finally clawed back some of that growing gap by better growth than the UK over the past year. The affects of stimulation on the Eurozone and of the devaluation of the Pound are waning and a more natural level of performance and likely correction will occur. Its easy to manipulate economies through currency and fool people who aren’t clever or knowledgeable enough to understand what’s going on. Then again when people start talking about a long term collapsing of the UK economy and the Eurozone booming you got to think some propaganda is going on here.

      All this fear, lack of confidence, under-investment, if and when due to BREXIT fears is like saying ‘we don’t like BREXIT so we’ll ruin the economy then blame it on BREXIT’. A lot of economic issues for the UK are not BREXIT-related but where they are, I blame it on those who have a low opinion of BREXIT and or the UK economy. Such people and organisations are contributing to any economic difficulties – entirely down to confidence and fear (and that includes taking value out of the Pound through fear, and therefore any economic problem laid at the door of a weak pound).

  35. As David Cameron said at the time of the Referendum, it would be a defining one off Vote regardless of the outcome & size of majority either way. The Remainers attitude is “we don’t like the result so let’s vote again” (until they get a result going their way). Would the millions of Leave Voters have called for a re-run if the result was to stay in the EU? I think not. I’m old enough to remember life before the EEC/EU and I’m sure the country will survive…

    Sorry I digress, this is meant to be comments on the effects on the UK Motor industry & economy. Regardless of opinions, I hope it will still flourish

    • I would be wary of drawing upon David Cameron’s authority on this issue, given that he was unwilling to deal with the consequences of his actions and announced his resignation on the day after the referendum. I think history will judge him poorly.

      In any event, Parliament, the sovereign body that most people in this country want to decide the country’s direction, had legislated for a non-binding referendum. The referendum was to be a guide to government, although of course Parliament did subsequently vote to invoke article 50 in October 2016.

      However, this article points out that things are not going well and that Brexit is likely to be seriously damaging to the UK motor industry. The title simply asks if we can have a re-think.

      In a democracy, what is wrong with that? The population has changed its mind since the referendum to remain in the common market in 1975 so no decision has to be eternally binding.

      Given that both sides of the campaign relied upon emotion rather than facts, I don’t think anybody could reasonably say that, countrywide, it was a clearly discussed and evidence based decision on 23/06/16. There is this suggestion that as much as anything the decision was a reaction by people neglected by government to give the governing elite a kick up the bum. I would have a lot of sympathy with that idea and with those people.

      Now, however, we have the clear and loud opinion from just about every industry or organisation that can claim to have any knowledge, expertise or worry about the outcome, that Brexit is worse than staying in the EU. There are some experts and businesses that think otherwise, but they are a minority.

      And of course, as you might have seen recently, assessments seem to indicate that the people who voted most solidly for Brexit are going to be the worst affected. Here is a good article about that:> http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/north-east-brexit-impact-thorntree_uk_5a82f04fe4b01467fcf1adca?utm_hp_ref=uk-homepage

      At risk of inflaming the emotions that obviously run hot here, I would suggest that having another look and a cooler, dispassionate consideration of the evidence is not unreasonable. Nobody wants a referendum every year, but this is such a significant matter that now the potentially very serious consequences are highlighted, the population ought to decide if this is what it wants. Young people will deal with the consequences for the rest of their lives, either way.

      I think we have so much more information now than we did before 23/06/16. There is a fairly well known quote that has several variations and that might or might not be attributed to John Maynard Keynes. I have chosen this version:

      “When my information changes, I change my mind. What do you do?”

      Surely, in a democracy, it would be rational to look at the evidence and if the current population thinks the decision was wrong, to change it?

      • Well I live in the North and would still vote the same if the Referendum was re-run. I have every confidence in the Country & its motor industry surviving despite the inevitable ups and downs. The problem is those doom mongers who like to blame everything on Brexit. Time will tell…

      • I don’t disagree with most of what you have to say expect the following:

        Quote: ‘However, this article points out that things are not going well and that Brexit is likely to be seriously damaging to the UK motor industry. The title simply asks if we can have a re-think.’

        I don’t agree with the premise of the article and have argued further up why this is so without anyone responding. At the very least I would expect a re-think to follow a decent assessment rather than one-sided selective claims (however well-meaning the contributors) based on a scenario which seems unlikely.

        Furthermore it seems that a lot more effort and constitutional gerrymandering is necessary to go from BREXIT to re-vote (and likely having to leave then rejoin anyway) than would be necessary if one were to try and deal with the issues that really concern Remainders. I’m aware there are attempts at staying in the single market whilst leaving, but they do not address the issues of Freedom of Movement, decision contribution, full sovereignty and high payment contributions. The problem seems to be the EU’s intransigence in these areas and the inability of large sections of the UK public/media to point the finger that way rather than at the government. In consequence a lot of hot air is expounded trying to make out the government is or should be full of hard Brexiteers and nothing aimed at the EU at all.

        I think energies would be better spent pressuring the EU to agree to a softer approach – though if Phase One of the talks are anything to go by their hard stance was always bluster anyway – but I appreciate that’s difficult when so many people are convinced – without any evidence or representative analysis – that leaving the EU is going to be good for the EU and bad for the UK.

        Without evidence. A smell circular arguments.

  36. If we define the UK Motor industry as remaining historic Companies and marques, I would argue there is only three, JLR, Morgan and JCB. They all sell far more outside the EU than in.
    .

  37. I am tired of extreme Brexiteers and Remainers and their negative, aggressive behaviour, in the same way the toxic Left/ Right style of politics has returned after an absence of well over 20 years. Who really benefits from the constant point scoring, cat calling and tribalism that some of these fanatics see as a big deal in their lives? It’s just as pathetic as the tribal rivalry you get in football, but this is a lot more dangerous.

  38. I voted Remain mostly due to the nature of my job, than any great love of the EU or to prove my ” superiority” to Brexit voters, but I am getting totally sick of the sneering arrogance of many on the Remain side. My parents voted Brexit and they don’t buy The Sun or the Daily Mail, hate foreigners, are badly educated chavs, thickos, BNP supporters,honophobes, rednecks, or any of the other insults hardline Remainers throw at Brexit supporters. On the other hand, some on the Brexit side don’t cover themselves in glory by referring to people who voted Remain as traitors all the time and thinking Brexit will solve everything from the problems in the NHS to the England football team.

    • I know the rhetoric has been OTT but it doesn’t help that too many Brexiteers seem to have the inability to have a reasoned debate, just empty slogans & right wing claims that can be easily disproven but keep being dragged up again & again like a bad penny.

      Having spent the first 2 decades of my life being discriminated against for being “different” so naturally I’m not drawn to anyone anti-minority.

    • Agreed

      It irritates me when many people automatically equate being anti EU as being the same as being anti European/foreigner, as they’re not the same thing.

      The EU is a political construct, with pros and cons, like any other institution (UN, NATO, devolved parliaments etc). Many of those who voted leave did so because of the lack of democratic accountability, even if the impact could be slightly negative to the economy. That’s a perfectly honourable position to take, even if you don’t agree with it.

  39. You British make me laugh.
    You trash your British owned industry by making cars no one wants to buy, seduce foreign investors into setting up in your God forsaken country with the ploy that they can sell to the EU, decide to quit the EU and then expect the foreign investors to stay!
    You are all obsessed with the past. Agincourt, Dunkirk, Battle of Britain, Churchill, Beatles, Bobby Charlton, Nobby Stiles Geoff Hurst and the British Empire.
    Your leaders Harry Macmillan and Harry Wilson knew the game was up, thats why they wanted to join the EU in the first place.
    Britain a great trading nation?
    You vote to quit EU and then nearly vote the anti-business Jeremy Corbyn as your leader!
    That is not the symptoms of a great trading nation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


*