It’s now the end of January, so we’re well into 2018 already. It may still be early days, but we already know quite a bit about how things are likely to play out for the British car industry this year.
Like last year, it’s expected that new car sales will continue to fall and diesel sales will continue to flatline.
We know that there will be continued wrangling over Brexit, and that the British car industry is nervously waiting to find out what trading terms will be imposed as a result.
The exchange rate for sterling has been volatile, which makes forecasting and setting prices rather difficult for both locally-manufactured and imported vehicles.
Much of the UK car industry is owned by foreign interests, and this means that decisions affecting us here are made in head offices many thousands of miles away. This presents an ongoing risk for British jobs, as those foreign entities will inevitably act to protect their interests at home ahead of here in the UK.
These issues and economic uncertainty mean that it’s more important than ever to understand why a strong local automotive industry is so important to the UK, and for consumers to be aware of British options when they are making their new car choices.
The overall automotive industry provides nearly a million jobs in the UK, plus countless others that support the industry or benefit from it. As well as the big-name car companies, there are thousands of component suppliers in the automotive supply chain and billions of pounds spent each year on world-class research and development.
What are we doing about it?
Over the course of this year, our three sites – The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert – will be exploring the best aspects of the UK automotive industry, and highlighting all the good work that is done here.
As with everything else we do, we want to give consumers information to help them make informed decisions. We want people to be aware of the benefits of driving a British car, and draw attention to the vehicles built here so that consumers can give them fair consideration.
We feel that this is important and that it needs to be covered. We are not saying that everyone should abandon imported new cars and only drive British cars, as obviously we don’t live in a totalitarian country. But we do think it should be a point of consideration for any new car buyer.
We’re not going to bring you mindless nationalism. We are, however, going to bring you news, reviews and features over the course of this year that put a spotlight on the best of the British car industry, and make sure that British products are given their fair chance to prove themselves.
We will also cover other aspects of the broader UK automotive industry, to highlight the world-class innovation that goes on. British ideas and developments are helping to shape the cars of the future, and we will try and cover as many of those as possible throughout 2018.
Where will your next car be built?
More than 2.5 million new cars were registered in the UK in 2017, but fewer than one in seven of those were actually built here – and that rate has been falling for years.
From the whole country’s point of view, it would be advantageous if that ratio was a bit more favourable. Even if sales of locally-built cars doubled, it would still make up barely more than a quarter of total sales, but the economic benefit to this country would be significant.
If you are buying a new car in 2018, one of your buying considerations should be “Is this car made in the UK?” We are not asking for it to be the dominant factor in your purchase, but it does deserve to be one of the criteria you take into consideration when buying a new (or near-new) car.
What are we asking?
Our wish is simple: that every new car buyer in 2018 considers a British-built car. We’re not insisting that you must buy one, but simply that you give one a try. If you like it, great. Keep it on your shortlist. If you don’t like it, fine. Buy something else, but at least you gave it your consideration.
The UK has a world-class automotive industry. At virtually every price point in the new car market, there is at least one British-built car that is worthy of your consideration. It may not be quite what you’re looking for, but it will definitely be worth a look. And that’s all we are asking.
Our wish is simple: that every new car buyer in 2018 considers a British-built car.