Automotive News, June 2018

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has launched the Future Mobility Challenge, an initiative to spawn partnerships between leading automotive brands and Innovative technology start-ups and SMEs.


BMW, Jaguar Land Rover, Bosch, Ford and Toyota, have partnered with SMMT to encourage new and small businesses to devise solutions to seven key mobility Challenges.


Technology innovators can submit ideas that address these opportunities and the best solutions will be invited to pitch at the Future Mobility Challenge event in October.


If successful, applicants will be able to negotiate a range of partnership propositions, from mentoring, ideas incubation and investment, to piloting routes to market or acquisition.


Start-ups and SMEs are invited to provide solutions to one or more of the following:


Harnessing the potential of mobility data – creating customer value through, for example, seamless payments at fuel forecourts and charge points or integrated Insurance services.


Intelligent IT solutions for Intelligent fleets – Innovative solutions that go beyond existing telematics offerings, potentially helping operators to optimise fleets, reduce their environmental footprint or support drivers’ wellbeing.


Innovative shared and on-demand mobility models – solutions to identify and deliver new, flexible models of car ownership or sharing via a single platform to bring mobility to more people.


Creating new and superior customer experiences in the age of hyper convenience perhaps using augmented or virtual reality and remote services or block chain solutions to deliver efficient business processes and premium and lifestyle customer propositions.


New connected car services – unique solutions to unlock greater potential from connectivity such as location services, journey management or remote services including, for example, predictive maintenance,


Future vehicle technologies – new solutions for everything from artificial Intelligence and machine learning, to automated driving, glass and display technologies, audio, and battery management.





Luxury car maker Jaguar Land Rover saw sales rise 11.9% last month. The business, which has its engine manufacturing centre at the i54 just north of Wolverhampton sold 45,180 vehicles in April. Sales were primarily driven by the introduction of new models including the Range Rover Velar, which won the 2018 World Car Design of the Year award, Land Rover Discovery and the Jaguar e-Pace.


For the year to April JLR sales were down 0.9% at 217,889. It sold 31,891 Land Rover models in April – up 13.6% – and 13,289 Jaguars – up 8%. Retail sales for April were up significantly year-on-year in China at 28.9%. the UK (25.9%) and north America (2.5%), but down in Europe by 10.2%. They were affected by the continuing uncertainty over diesel in the UK and Europe.


Jaguar sales were supported by sales of the new long-wheelbase XEL from the company’s joint venture in China. This success was partially offset by lower sales of the f-Pace and other models.

JLR is the UK’s largest automotive manufacturer and employs more than 43,000 people globally and supports around 240,000 more through its retailer network, suppliers and local businesses. In 2017 JLR sold 621,109 vehicles in 130 countries, with more than 80% of vehicles being sold abroad. It spent more than £4 billion last year on new product creation and capital expenditure.





Birmingham is to host a zero emission vehicles summit backed by the Government that will showcase the expertise and opportunities in the Midlands and the UK. The event is being claimed as a world-first and follows on from a Government commitment for the UK to be at the forefront of the design and manufacturing of zero emission vehicles, making all new cars and vans effectively emission-free by 2040.


The summit will bring together policy makers, industry experts and opinion formers from around globe to tackle carbon emissions and to find ways to improve air quality. It will take place at Birmingham’s International Conference Centre on September 11.


The summit will continue the following day at the low carbon vehicle event Cenex-LCV, which is held at Millbrook Proving Grounds near Milton Keynes. The event features innovative technology from international companies and is an established fixture of the automotive calendar.


The Government has also confirmed it is to continue with the Plug in Car Grant and Van Grant, which forms part of £1.5bn being spent on ultra-low emission vehicles to 2021. Separately, cycling and walking minister Jesse Norman will shortly issue a call for evidence as part of considerations on how to reduce emissions for last mile deliveries. One of the measures to be looked at is providing grants or other financial incentives to support the use of e-cargo bikes.





Toyota has warned it is unlikely to invest in its UK manufacturing plants if the government moves to ban the sale of its hybrid cars. Proposed government rules to ban cars that cannot drive 50 miles or more on electric power alone by 2040 “would make the vehicles we make in the UK currently unsaleable in the UK”, he said.


The government is drawing up plans to ban the sale of some hybrid vehicles by 2040, in an effort to cut carbon emissions and improve air quality. The plans, called the “road to zero”, are due to be published in the coming weeks. The proposed ban, 22 years away, would cover almost all Toyota’s current vehicle range, including its flagship Prius hybrid, as well as the Auris manufactured in the UK.


The UK which makes 1.7m cars a year, would find it hard to compete with Germany, which makes 5.6m, in attracting battery manufacturers, he added, without being able to export those batteries into Europe and around the world.






The number of cars built in the UK in April rose 5.2% on the same month last year, the industry’s trade body says. 127,950 cars rolled off production lines, driven by investment in new models, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said. Last month’s increase came off the back of a double-digit fall in production in April 2017.


SMMT boss Mike Hawes said the rise was not a surprise, and he again warned about Brexit’s impact on the industry.  Manufacturing for both the home and overseas markets rose by 7.3% and 4.7% respectively, with 103,662 cars built for export in April and accounting for 81% of production.


Overall output is down 3.9%, with a total of 568,378 cars manufactured in the first four months. Four-fifths of these were exported, as domestic demand fell 10.3% against only a 2.2% decline in vehicles destined for export. In March, the number of cars built fell 13.3% year-on-year.

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