The UK automotive industry has attracted around £20 billion in private investment in 2023, according to the latest calculations by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) – meaning this year has seen more investment announced than in all the years back to 2016 combined.
On top of industry’s backing for new and upgraded R&D and manufacturing facilities, the government has committed a further £2 billion for the sector, backed by an Advanced Manufacturing Plan and battery strategy that will drive green economic growth and create jobs across every part of the country. With almost a million people directly relying on the sector for their livelihood and millions more benefiting from the mobility it provides, the importance of the UK automotive industry to the economy has never been more evident.
Addressing industry leaders and politicians at the SMMT’s 106th Annual Dinner in London, Alison Jones, SMMT President and Senior Vice President Global Circular Economy, Stellantis, praised the industry’s resilience and commitment to green growth, saying,
As an industry, we have moved forward despite the instability, despite legislative uncertainty, inflation and geopolitical risk. The industry has backed itself with big decisions on big investments to guarantee jobs and our future. We have seen major commitments in battery production, lithium mining, vehicle manufacturing, R&D and the aftermarket. Such investment – and our ability to remain competitive – is key to the continuation of a strong UK manufacturing base and a sector that sustains nearly a million livelihoods.
With new investment announcements coming as recently as last week, Britain has confirmed itself as a globally competitive place to manufacture zero emission vehicles, batteries and components. Factories across the country are now producing electric vehicles of every type – cars, vans, buses and trucks – while the supply chain manufactures almost every component needed for EVs. The industry is ready to return to pre-pandemic levels of trade worth more than £100 billion by the end of the year, but the challenge is now to scale up even further to seize the opportunities decarbonisation offers.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:
The industry is betting big on Britain, and government has rightly recognised the value that automotive manufacturing brings to the UK, backing our industrial transformation. These investments are, however, predicated on a strong domestic market. Incentives for business buyers must be matched with support for private buyers to ensure the maximum return on every penny already pledged to production. The prize for success will be a faster and fairer decarbonisation of Britain, ensuring millions have access to zero emission mobility.