Automotive News, Late February, 2020


Car production has fallen for the fifth month in a row amid weak demand in the UK, new figures reveal.

Production for the UK fell by almost a quarter in January compared with a year ago, although exports increased by 4.1%, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Manufacturing at Jaguar Land Rover’s UK plants could slow down because of difficulties in getting parts from China due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Chief executive Sir Ralf Speth has warned UK production risks being hit from next month because of supply chain difficulties in China.

He said the luxury car maker has enough parts to complete the manufacturing processes at its UK sites this week and next, but warned of shortfalls from March should delays to deliveries persist.

Jaguar Land Rover is to halt production at its Solihull and Castle Bromwich plants on certain days.  JLR said that the factories will stop making cars with full- and half-day stoppages planned over coming months after demand for new cars falls.  There will be half-day stoppages on Fridays at Solihull until the end of March, while at Castle Bromwich selected days will see workers told not to turn up for the production line over a four-week period to the end of March.

The car industry blamed confusion over diesel and clean air zones, and weak consumer and business confidence, for a 7.3% drop in demand.  Some 11,700 fewer cars new were registered in January than during the same month in 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The trade association blamed confusion over diesel and clean air zones, and weak consumer and business confidence.

The last date to buy a new petrol, diesel or hybrid car in the UK will be brought forward from 2040 to 2035 at the latest, under government plans.

The change comes after experts said 2040 would be too late if the UK wants to achieve its target of emitting virtually zero carbon by 2050.  Boris Johnson will outline the policy later at an event to launch a United Nations climate summit in November.  He will say the summit is a chance to “step up” protecting the planet.

The summit, known as COP26, is being hosted in Glasgow. It is an annual UN-led gathering set up to assess progress on tackling climate change.

Gordon Murray Design has joined forces with Delta Motorsport and itMoves on the development of a new single-seater autonomous pod car that it claims could have a major impact on the world of personal transportation and last mile delivery.

Part-funded through the UK-government’s ‘IDP14’ programme, and unveiled at this week’s MOVE 2020 event in London (11 – 12th February), the vehicle, dubbed MOTIV, has been developed for adaptation to driverless use with any form of autonomous technology and is claimed to be the first of its kind to offer this degree of integration simplicity.

The pod is based on Gordon Murray Design’s iStream Superlight technology, which uses ultra-lightweight high strength extruded aluminium in the chassis, composite panels and door, and aluminium suspension to ensure that vehicle weight is kept below 450kg (excluding batteries).

Jobs could be axed after Triumph Motorcycles boss Nick Bloor unveiled plans to relocate the company’s mass production facilities to Thailand.  The news comes after the firm announced a joint venture with Bajaj Auto India which it said would enable it to gain a stronger foothold in crucial Asian markets.

It is understood that the iconic brand’s Hinckley production site will now become a global research and development centre. 20 jobs are likely to be created as a result.

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