Season’s greetings to you all! It might have been one of the weirdest – and, in many cases, unpleasant – years I’ve known for world events, but it’s good to know that AROnline continues to chug along doing its own little thing. And although it’s impossible not to mention 2016 in the same breath as Brexit, Donald Trump and Aleppo, after pausing to consider that for a moment, we’ll move swiftly along to consider the matter of British cars old and new, and how it’s been a good year in that respect.
Of the ex-British Leyland empire, Jaguar Land Rover has gone from strength to strength, building its strongest and widest range of cars, ever, and posting records month after month. MINI continues to grow in the UK, having just built its three millionth car at Cowley. These are great news stories given the rough economic times we’ve endured recently – perhaps it shows once and for all that it’s good to buy British, even if it takes foreign ownership to make that happen.
Faith in the United Kingdom
Speaking of foreign ownership, Nissan and Vauxhall should also be congratulated for making very public shows of support for our Island nation following the Brexit vote in June. They both committed to continued UK production in very uncertain times – and, at a time when there was much navel-gazing over UK manufacturing and the global economy, this was a very good thing indeed.
Of course, they were not alone. Honda and Toyota continue to rack up production here in Burnaston and Swindon in the hundreds of thousands – proving that we’re doing something very right here. Also, let’s all remember McLaren, which as a supercar start-up fighting in a very rarefied market, racked up 10,000 cars built this month – very well done to a very different kind of British car manufacturer. And finally, there’s Aston Martin, which launched the stunning DB11 and announced it’s building a new factory in Wales to build its upcoming Bentley Bentayga rival.
Boomtime for classics
The classic car world felt like it had come of age, too, in 2016. Jaguar Land Rover decided it was a good idea to continue building continuation cars, while values elsewhere continued to rise across the board. The latter point is a moot one, of course, if you’re looking to buy that dream classic car, only to see it continue to get more expensive – but at least that opened up a new sector in the modern classics world, where cars are infinitely more usable and affordable.
There were many anniversaries, too, in 2016, but none could top the 40th anniversary of the Rover SD1 (where the hell did that go?) – not even the Rover 800’s 30th birthday, or the Morris Marina’s 45th. Almost, but not quite…
And finally, from me – thank you to Mike Humble, Ian Nicholls, David Morgan, Alexander Boucke, Steven Ward, and Clive Goldthorp for some astounding contributions to AROnline this year. The place would be a whole lot less interesting without their amazing insight and passion in some very well thought-out articles over the year. Thanks, guys!
And to everyone else, have a peaceful and enjoyable Christmas and New Year period – let’s hope that 2017 delivers all that you wish for it.