The british car industry in full doubt

The bad news for the british car. In march, production in the uk has dropped by 13.3 % compared to the previous year, according to statistics published Thursday, April 26, by the Society of Motors Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the trade association of the sector. This is the twelfth consecutive month of decline. “When the decline is in double figures, it becomes very disturbing,” said Mike Hawes, the director of the SMMT, in an interview given to a group of european journalists.

The consequences on employment are beginning to be felt : Jaguar Land Rover has announced on April 13, the removal of thousand temporary jobs at its factory in Solihull, near Birmingham ; Nissan did the same on 20 April, eliminating several hundred jobs at its site in Sunderland in the north east of England, without specifying their exact number.

The british car is caught between two structural problems. The first is the crisis of diesel, which has shaken the whole of Europe. The second is the Brexit, which is likely to hurt the equilibrium of the whole economic sector.

The only good news is that the automobile production has experienced several record years in the uk and that the sector has a little bit of leeway. In 2016 and 2017, approximately 1.7 million vehicles left the production lines in the country, a level not very far from France (2.2 million last year).

It is on these solid foundations that are feeling the effects of the scandal of diesel engines rigged Volkswagen. The case has caused a wide public distrust vis-à-vis the motorization. “We can see that the owners of the diesel car have chosen to simply wait, to keep their vehicle for longer, rather than buy a new one rolling with another fuel,” says Mr Hawes. Sales of diesel have fallen by 33 % in the first quarter…

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