Automotive News – Late March 2022

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said today a relocation of car manufacturing back to the UK would be “good news” for the sector.

“If supply chain resilience provides the opportunity to reshore more of the supply chain in the UK, we would certainly support and encourage that,” SMMT’s chief executive Mike Hawes told City A.M.

Automotive makers started moving production away from eastern Europe following Russia’s decision to invade Ukraine and the consequent set of sanctions imposed on Moscow.

According to Hawes, a successful reshoring of automotive production back to Britain depends on whether there is a strong and healthy car production as well as the level of competitiveness.


UK Automotive invests £10.8 billion in first ‘electric decade’

  • New analysis reveals manufacturers have committed £10.8 billion in UK EV and battery R&D and production since 2011.
  • More than 150 models of plug-in cars and vans now on sale, while British factories have produced a quarter of a million electric cars, vans, buses and trucks in the last decade.
  • In new blueprint for electric transition, industry calls for all stakeholders to match its commitment and ‘plug the gap’ between ambition and delivery, to make Britain a world leader in zero emission mobility.

The automotive industry has called for all stakeholders to match its commitment to deliver zero emission mobility, as new analysis by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals some £10.8 billion has been dedicated to UK electric vehicle production and gigafactories since 2011, with billions more invested globally to bring new technology to market. Given the figure accounts purely for public announcements by vehicle and battery manufacturers, and does not include wider supply chain investment, the overall UK automotive commitment to electrification will be even higher.


West Yorkshire is set to receive £24m from Government as part of its investment into almost 1000 new zero emission buses across the country.

The region will see this central funding matched by a £33m investment from local bus operators according to West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin.  Brabin noted that: “A green, zero-emission bus system is a core element of the Combined Authority’s long-term vision for buses in West Yorkshire.”


The West Midlands is set to run the UK’s largest hydrogen bus fleet after securing new funding.

A fleet of 124 environmentally friendly hydrogen fuelled buses will be taking to the streets following the approval of a £30m Department for Transport grant.

It follows a successful bid to the Zero-emission Bus Regional Areas (ZEBRA) fund to promote cleaner and greener bus transport and will cover the cost of a refuelling facility as well as the new vehicles.

Twenty-four of these new vehicles will be articulated tram-style buses set to run on the new Sprint rapid transit routes along the A34 and A45 between Walsall, Birmingham and Solihull.


Lotus has completed its £100m redevelopment of its Norfolk sites, which has seen its Hethel factory revamped and has created hundreds of new jobs in the area.

The investment saw two new production halls being added to its Hethel location, one of which is the pre-production for its Emira sports car and one for its Evija electric hypercar.

Originally, the sports car manufacturer had been planning to build a customer experience centre, heritage centre and a museum on the site. But a spokesperson said that this is now no longer going ahead, although the previous building was demolished 18-months ago as it was structurally unsound.

There are, however, plans to build a museum on the site over the next few years. No further details about this have yet been made available.


The UK is on track to reach 4,000 zero emission bus pledge with £200 million boost

Multimillion-pound package to deliver huge fleet of electric and hydrogen powered buses across England.

  • nearly 1,000 more zero-emission buses to be funded in towns and cities across the country, bringing the total funded in England to 2000 so far under this government
  • a further 600 zero-emission buses have been funded in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland
  • comes as consultation launched on ending sale of all new non-zero emission buses from 2025 to 2032
  • government continues taking unprecedented action to hit net zero and level up transport across the country


Engine production falls -30.9% in February.

  • UK engine production declines -30.9% on February last year, to 117,551 units.
  • Year to date output falls -23.5% to 259,023 engines.
  • Production for domestic and overseas markets down -38.5% and -24.3% respectively.


UK commercial vehicle production rises 92.2% in February but still below pre-pandemic levels.

  • British CV production rises 92.2% but remains -10.3% down on pre-pandemic levels.
  • Production for domestic and overseas markets increases by 96.9% and 87.9% respectively, with more than half of output shipped abroad.
  • Sector calls for government action on energy costs to secure full recovery and long-term competitiveness and growth


UK car production falls for eighth consecutive month as global chip shortage persist.

  • UK car production falls -41.3% in February to 61,657 units as global chip shortage persists.
  • One-in-four cars made either an electric or hybrid vehicle, totalling 15,905 units.
  • As global economic headwinds hold back recovery, sector calls for urgent action to alleviate soaring business energy costs and encourage investment.

UK car production fell -41.3% in February, with 61,657 units made, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). 43,351 fewer cars were made than in the same month in 2021, primarily due to the persistent global shortage of semiconductors causing some factories to pause production, and the loss of output following the closure of a major plant in Swindon last summer.


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