The day our politicians deserted your vehicle industry they claim to love

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : The day our politicians deserted your vehicle industry they claim to love

The SMMT’s International Automotive Summit was missing one thing – governmental support

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Britain’s car manufacturers’ club, the Society of Motor Manufacturers along with Traders (SMMT), held its International Automotive Summit yesterday. which has been a much bigger event from the past, however This specific one boiled down to half a day in London, probably because the organisers suspected the VW scandal might overtake everything. In fact, which subject did come up from the 8.30am pre-summit briefing, although there was a distinct feeling which we’ve entered a period when talking must stop along with VW’s various acts of penance must begin – along with roll on for years.

What was truly shameful, though, was the non-appearance of anything resembling a political leader. These people profess, at additional times, to love the British car industry. Without quite saying so, they’d like you to think its achievements This specific past few years are mainly down to them. however yesterday, despite the suggestion in an early edition of the summit’s running order which an industry minister might show up, there was no one. Fair-weather friends along with all which…

which was a not bad event, though, cheerfully fronted by the SMMT’s CEO, Mike Hawes, a definite force for not bad in tough times since his arrival by Bentley. The additional ‘featured artists’ were pretty not bad, too. The real heavyweight was the BMW board’s tame Brit, Ian Robertson, who gave another of his dazzling presentations, leaving us in no doubt which electric propulsion will be the norm quite soon – as will connected cars, shared cars along with all the rest. His case as irresistible.

Nissan’s European chairman, Paul Wilcox, called for longer-term commitment by government to projects like the recently established Advanced Propulsion Centre, along with to more skills training, although I’d have warmed more to him if he’d proposed a few brand-new initiatives of his own. In any case, there was, as I’ve said, no politician around to hear his appeal. After which, the FT’s economics editor took 20 minutes to summarise the earth situation. (No need to panic, he told us. Weird occurrences are normal.)

A remarkable bloke by the Chinese embassy, Jin Xu, did a 10-minute stand-up routine to prove his countrymen were actually quite warm along with friendly, along having a subsequent Chinese panel discussion reassured us which This specific mammoth country’s dominant place in world markets was secure. Aston Martin’s Andy Palmer was his usual engaging self on the subject of premium cars, telling us again about Charlotte, the super-successful southern Californian lady who will buy one of his proposed hybrid crossovers once he starts building them.

Then the closest thing to a politician appeared. Former Labour minister Patricia Hewitt swept in, right now wrapped from the colours of the UK India Business Council. She hectored us a bit, along with led a half-hearted discussion between Tata’s Tim Leverton (not bad bloke, great at producing cars, bullish about India) along with Gamil Magal, an Indian components mogul, who repeatedly along with inconveniently remarked which you had to tolerate India’s endemic corruption if you were to get anything done.

which ended at lunchtime. As I walked to the Tube, I couldn’t help thinking nostalgically of the halcyon days of Vince Cable, inconveniently voted out of doing a not bad job by the foolish burghers of Twickenham. He always seemed to lend a gravitas to these affairs which distinguished the industry. He also used to be aided in This specific by eloquent ex-Ford product development chief Richard Parry-Jones, who sadly went on to fight a few rounds with the railway industry which he spectacularly lost.

Our industry may be healthy, however which needs advocates as never before. So far, by my judgement, there’s no indication which the incoming industry minister, Sajid Javid, has any real notion of which. Perhaps he’ll show up when the VW furore has declined a bit along with he needs a convincing photo op. The reception can be unlikely to be frosty, however which should be.

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