You could try asking your car’s Sat Nav, but that would be silly. The real question has to be, is the motor industry in or out and does it matter?
To the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which represents the UK automotive industry, it does. According to them it supports 800,000 jobs across the UK and contributing £15.5 billion annually to the economy. With around 80% of vehicles heading abroad and over half of those (57.5 percent) destined for the rest of the EU. Unrestricted access to the world’s largest single market, the negotiating strength of the EU to secure international trade deals, the ability to shape technical regulations and free movement of labour all provide significant benefits to UK businesses. This is why SMMT member companies large and small are overwhelmingly in favour of remaining in the EU.
We make cars in the UK, because we are now rather good at it. Far more efficient than we ever were and building vehicles, that people around the world want to buy. It is worth remembering that the companies are foreign owned and that means they can locate them wherever they see fit.
In April 2006, Peugeot announced the closure of its plant at Ryton, near Coventry in the UK, with the loss of 2,300 jobs. The company blamed the closure decision on relatively high production and logistical costs at Ryton, in the context of reduced market demand and intense competition in Europe. Peugeot’s Chief Executive, Jean-Martin Folz, noted that costs at Ryton were higher. The EU then helped fund relocation to a lower cost plant in western Slovakia.
Ford Transit production left the UK forever when in 2012 a loan from the European Union’s bank, was agreed in June as part of a billion dollar investment plan. About £600m was invested in Ford’s 395-acre Turkish site in Kocaeli, a country which isn’t even in the EU.
Getting the motor industry to admit that they want to do anything but stay in the EU has been difficult. Sky News claimed to have seen a memo sent to approximately 1,800 UK staff at Aston Martin, which is jointly owned by Italian and Kuwaiti investment firms, told employees that a decision to leave the European Union (EU) would make British exports “more competitive”. However, Aston Martin has denied this.
Meanwhile, makers of diggers and other construction equipment, JCB, sent a letter from chairman Lord Bamford to the firm’s 6,500 UK employees explaining why he’s personally backing leaving the EU. He said he was “very confident that we can stand on our own two feet”, ahead of the referendum.
Free Car Mag is unaffected by the UK’s decision as we remain free at the point of delivery to anyone, anywhere in the world who wants to read us. Our opinion on being in or out?
Big business and you can’t get bigger than a motor manufacturer, loves rules and regulations they have whole departments set up to deal with it. This stifles competition from smaller nimbler concerns. The UK was warned that not joining the Euro would kill our exports and it didn’t. They have increased. We are now told that Europe will get all grumpy about buying cars from and will introduce a tariff. Well, two can play at that game and anyway Germany needs us to buy its BMWs, Audis and VWs. And so long as the world wants Land Rovers and Jaguars and Nissans and Vauxhalls and Toyotas there is no sane reason why they will not be made in the UK, whatever the decision.
We know it is silly, but please tell us though which way your car would vote and why through the usual social media channels of course. We may be able a little prize for the best reason.