The state of the car industry

June saw car showrooms re open and some sales take place. Some dealerships reported brisk trade and pent up demand. We now know the overall result. June sales were 35% down on June 2019, and year to date sales are now down by just under one half.

Some of you write in and point out many people cannot afford a new car. Others tell me it is silly to buy one, given the costs and the early depreciation. I continue to research and write about the car industry because it has figured prominently in UK debates about manufacturing, tariffs and trade. It is a modern political paradox or contradiction. The MPs who are keenest on green policies are also often those who worry about the state of our car industry, not seeing that it is green policies which have done most to undermine traditional car manufacturing.

There are several reasons for the collapse of car output and demand. Of course the main one is the lock down period and the impact of anti virus policies. There are however underlying trends and policies that were weakening car output well before covid 19 hit. The high VED put people off buying new. Tax and regulatory attacks on diesels cut buying interest in these cars., These were the vehicles the EU and UK governments had urged the industry to specialise in when they saw diesels as more environmentally friendly than petrol cars. The Bank of England under Mr Carney also tightened credit conditions for car loans. Readers of this blog read my forecasts of decline at the time of the new measures.

There is this central muddle in UK car industry policy. The government seems to want a major car industry, yet still dislikes its main products. It wants a very different car industry. The danger is its recourse to higher taxes and more regulations puts people off existing products without bringing them to buy the products the government wants to see. The industry is caught spending money closing down the old before its time, and spending even more money on the new before there is mass demand.The virus just got in the way and blew a crater in the sales figures.

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152 Comments

  1. Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    The government wants a car industry but does not want car ownership. Its relationship is similar to that of smoking. It’s a love hate relationship. It loves the taxes but hates that which it taxes. Classic – If it moves, regulate it. If it is still moving, tax it. If it stops moving, subsidies it.

    The same too is happening to online shopping. As people and business’s are driven from the high street they are going on line. The government loses taxes and then run around spraying money around trying to undo what it has created. In the meantime it goes after on line shopping to get the revenue. It never stops to ask why it needs the money, it just needs it and then goes and spends it on things people don’t want or need.

    What we really need it a cull of government.

    Less is more.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:48 am | Permalink

      The British State is a vested interest in its own right. It exists not for our benefit but for itself and those it employs. The private is nothing more than something to be legislated against and openly abused

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      A perfect analysis. If you listen to politicians they have absolutely no shame in saying something different today from what they said ‘yesterday’ and are in total denial about anything they do that went wrong.

      Boris’ ludicrous and frankly disingenuous spin that it is the Care Homes that are to blame is the latest example.

      Hence nothing in government is other than short term and never joined up. One of the reasons most politicians are so disliked and untrusted is that they can’t see out of their Hubristic bubble.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:44 am | Permalink

      @Mark B; We do not need a cull of govt, there is no govt to cull, just a collection of people to scared to actually govern in case they upset to many Plebs (the electorate).

      Love or Loath them, both Attlee, & Thatcher did what they thought correct, not what curried favour, and both suffered Ministerial resignations for doing so, meaning other MPs also did what they though correct rather than what was good for their careers!

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      +1
      It is Government policy to fight the people and the market

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Well said, Mark B.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Absolutely.
      Tax,tax,tax…probably to give away.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      A cull of government – coronavirus for Ministries. We can but dream.

      Government which does least, does best

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      Ps. Read a report on HMGs approach to counter terrorism. ‘inconsistent and incoherent’ …………… Sums up their whole approach.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Your comments, which I fully agree with, suggest that our best and brightest law makers don’t understand the term ‘cause & affect’ with an emphasis on the consequences of unintended affect associated with knee jerk policy, subsidy and short-sightedness

      Government is doing more harm then good

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      JR, you previously highlighted how Hammond damaged the car industry, your govt. Johnson once told us how the public would feel robbed by the govt. when it told the nation to buy diesel cars only years later after investing a large part of their income in one to punish those who did what the govt. asked. Now a converted greenie presumably because of his current mistress he seems to be suffering amnesia. Where is the evidence to support govt policy? If it is anything like the Chinese virus policies then it is likely to be science fiction at great expense to the nation and public.

      We read yesterday how we import 86% of our coal and it is likely to rise to 100% when the U.K. has enormous reserves/amounts! This is the crazy policies of your govt. always caving to the lobby. Shullenberger, an American greenie campaigner, recently admitting he knew what he was saying was not true in scaring the public.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Well said Mark. We have very confused policy makers. It seems they bring in new rules without thinking of the long term consequences. They then try to fix their self made problems and we the public have to fund their mistakes. The Government needs to get off this alarmist climate change bandwagon before they wreck our economy. Some people are making a nice living off climate change.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      Mark B

      “What we really need it a cull of government” (sic)

      Agreed +1

      Your argument is logical, reasonable, insightful, clearly highlighting the Government’s conspicuous lack of critical thinking, its meaningless over employment, over reliance on suspicious expects and useless jobs for the boys Quangos.

      So long as the Government continues to be managed by incompetant amateurs this will only lead to further “blind judgement”….has historical Government mismanagement taught us nothing?….yes it has!

      However, if the current Government was filled with professionals, such as our kind host, there might be a fighting chance for change?

      • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        Dennis

        “However, if the current Government was filled with professionals, such as our kind host”

        You’d need professionals that didn’t sit on the fence nor hold the view that free speech is a bad thing.

        Unfortunately there is no such MP in this country. They all subscribe to woke-ness in one form or another.

      • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        If we had a Cabinet of Redwoods there would be no problem.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Politicians can only do so much.
      The real problem is a real lack of patriotism in this country, where people say, ‘what can I do for my country,’ instead of ‘what can my country do for me.’
      This is tied in with people depending on the State – instead of on themselves and their Families.
      We need to get back, good-old fashioned traditional Christian patriotism (the likes of Jane Austen would know exactly what I am talking about).
      Patriotism has always been a traditional Christian virtue. Look at St Thomas Aquinas. Look at the great patriot St Joan of Arc. A traditional Christian virtue that is also tied up with Strong Family, Work Ethic (looking at the HUGE success of the Quakers in business), Public Responsibility, Love of / respect for Monarchy, Parliament, Judiciary, National Sport, Arts, Nature, Armed Forces, British Brands in Business involving high skills and exporting abroad – creating a truly Strong and Stable economy and country which people love!

      But now even in those in Traditional Christianity, from one degree to another, are forgetting about this great virtue of Patriotism, let alone secular society.

      If we returned to this great traditional Christian virtue, taxation would collapse to around 20%, crime figures would collapse, problems in mental and physical health would collapse, productivity would hugely increase as well as humour and cheerfulness and wit.

      • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:23 pm | Permalink

        Unfortunately a lit of people in position of power in the British State identify with a different ‘my country’.

        • Posted July 9, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          Just as individuals are, or should be, a work of (divine) art as captured in portraits by a great painter such as Velasquez, and just as families are, or should be, a work of (divine) art as we see in say the family of Jane Austen and families in her novels, so we as a country are, or should be, a work of (divine) as we see in the lives of great patriots such as St Joan of Arc, the young men who sacrificed their lives in Spitfires in WW2, to a certain extent the life and music of Mozart to his beloved Salzburg and Austria, to those that built Salisbury Cathedral and established the beautiful colleges of Oxford and Cambridge, the old Irish brand Guinness so closely associated with Dublin and Ireland and high exports abroad, and British brands such as Cadbury with the Cadbury family being such generous philanthropists to this country.

          Patriotism is a beautiful thing. Yes, it involves sacrifice – and of course generosity of spirit – but it is also fun, interesting and creative.
          Patriotism is a beautiful thing – like a Faberge Egg.

          We’ve really got to please promote more good-old fashioned, colourful, Jane-Austen-like, traditional Christian, British Patriotism.

          God bless England and the UK – this great country that has been good to me and which I want to do more to pay back.

        • Posted July 9, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

          Also, we need to show our politicians more respect (not blind respect) and that will encourage them to do better job.

          Satire is a great part of British life but too much / in the wrong way and it can become cynical – caustic – bitter – and nihilistic.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      Re your penultimate sentence – HS2 a case in point, plus the UN, the Paris climate accord, Green Crap, the NHS without reform, the WHO and MANY many others. So easy to spend/waste other people’s money.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Exactly – we are run by idiots and parasites who want to tax, tax, tax, control, control, control, fine, fine, fine and regulate, regulate, regulate plus ram expensive energy and endless green crap down out throats at the same time.

      Then the fools like May, Osborne and Hammond complain about lack of productivity! Can they not see the connection?

      Labour leader Keir Starmer vows to undertake ‘unconscious bias training’ on racism as he says he does NOT regret ‘taking the knee’ in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests I read. Does he want to defund the police to or perhaps he just want to brain wash them all with even more unconscious bias training or something.

      What a damn fool he is. Doubtless idiots like May and her ilk will eventually bring in a law to say everyone has to go an such moronic training courses soon. Or have it rammed down them at school.

  2. Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    What a perfect analysis of the problem.

    Despite what the daft Leyla Moran’s of this world think, people love cars. They enjoy the freedom they give and the convenience. They also like the technology in modern cars and, let’s be frank, a decent new car is probably better furnished and equipped than our home or office !

    My wife and I like nothing more than getting in our car and driving down through Europe to the Italian Lakes or the Swiss Alps. You cannot easily do that in any of the current electric cars, the range is far too short and charging stations are too infrequent.

    None of this is going to change any time soon.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:46 am | Permalink

      ” My wife and I like nothing more than getting in our car and driving down through Europe to the Italian Lakes or the Swiss Alps. ”

      The car represents freedom. It your timetable.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

      Chris S

      Agreed, we tour down to the South of France each year, and some years beyond like yourselves.
      Electric simply not practical for such a journey.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      France has a significant electric car charging infrastructure – and Switzerland’s is even more extensive. You will have zero problems driving down through France and charging your car en route. If you have a Tesla it will even plan your route for you, tell you precisely at which charging stations to stop – and as there are numerous fast chargers on route – each time you’d be on your way again within half an hour. I was in a tiny village in the French Alps earlier this year. It is full of electric car charging points.

      Indeed the biggest barrier you will face is not electric cars but Brexit. From next year your driving licence will not work in the EU. You will need at least 1 international driving permit. These cost £5 plus a passport photo plus the inconvenience of going to a post office during a pandemic. You might need more than 1 international driving permit because there are different types are acceptable in different countries.

      Your passport will also need to be valid for 6 months after your trip ends, your EHIC card will not work, you need a GB sticker which will damage the paintwork on your car, and you’ll soon also need an ETIAS visa waiver which will take you 20 minutes to fill in and will cost up to £10 each. You will also face long queues at Dover – the sort you haven’t seen since the 1980s. All this extra pointless bureaucracy brought to you by the people who said they would cut pointless bureaucracy – at a cost of about £70 for a family of 4. Just for the paperwork.

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        You’re just being silly, Andy. Again. How many people in the UK can afford a Tesla? Very few. They’re expensive, badly built, polluting, heavy, and fast charging damages the battery.

        As for driving in the EU, far more UK travellers go by plane, train, or boat than by their own car. And almost all the “barriers” that you cite (and a few that you don’t) are in place even now, whilst we’re still in the EU.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      With Matt Monroe booming out of the speakers, I hope.

      • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        How did you guess? But only when driving the Ferrari 575M ……………….

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 5:07 am | Permalink

        The Italian Job ! O like it 🙂

        • Posted July 9, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

          The track from the Italian Job is “On Days Like These.”

          I always have the album with the track in the CD changer in the Ferrari. We’ve driven the Grand St Bernard Pass as used in the film but fortunately didn’t come across any bulldozers !

          I know quite a few people who have done the same the song suits a clear summer’s day driving across the Alps perfectly.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Where are they going to get the vast amount raw materials battery cars? Where will the electric powers generation come from?

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      From the turn of the century till the 1970s we had engineers, draughtsmen and visionaries designing our cars, motorcycles and vehicles.

      But for the past half century our cars have been designed and by politicians, bureaucrats and the green lobby

      • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        +1. Plus the consumer was king they bought what suited them. Now government forces expensive & premature technology down their throats and bribes them to put up with it. This for now valid reason C02 plant food is not even a serious problem and electric cars do not save any anyway.

      • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        + 1 and we have gone from desirable cars to grey uniformity.

        • Posted July 9, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          correct….same cars just different badges

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

        Well, you can have your Allegro then, but I think that most people would prefer to stick with their BMWs etc.

        • Posted July 9, 2020 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

          Silly comment.
          Jaguar and Land Rover as just one UK example make excellent cars.

          • Posted July 9, 2020 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

            The commenter was writing about the passage of time and its effect, not contrasting nations.

            Try to stay relevant to his post.

          • Posted July 10, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

            You were trying to equate a car from the 70’s to the state of the modern car industry.
            Just accept you are wrong.

        • Posted July 10, 2020 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          Actually Martin, Rover esp the popular 214 series and Mini in the U.K. were getting their act together and started taking market share from BMW and other fleet car providers and they bought them out, we shouldn’t have allowed this.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Yes – the joy of a 3 litre ‘Busso’ Alfa Romeo roaring over the Alps. A seven hour drive from Metz that day and I wasn’t at all tired when we arrived in Orta.

      Just wouldn’t be the same in a Tesla I’m afraid. 🙁

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

      Policies driven by the Green Agenda; Godchild of the Great Global Warming Scam.

      Electric cars are still in the early stages of development and may well improve, leading to massive depreciation of the current crop. I don’t see any possibility of a realistic and affordable alternative to my diesel van which has many years of life left in it, surely producing far less environmental damage than that the battery manufacture for an electric car produces. Of course that environmental damage occurs in China so why should the Greens worry about it?

      • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        +1

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

        +1

  3. Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    The UK is overpopulated.

    E M Forster’s book ‘The Machine Stops’ signalled a situation where people had no purpose to travel because virtually everywhere had become the same as where they already were.

  4. Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:38 am | Permalink

    Contrition from politicians is required. They caused the explosion in diesel cars as you say, now they change their mind but with no recompense for the manufacturers or purchasers of their (Previously) preferred choice.
    One thinks of the German mileage travesty, for which compensation is now being paid. Surely the Government owe the industry and owners of diesel cars a huge amount of money?
    Moreover with this track record and massively expensive reversal, why should anybody trust that the politicians have got it right this time?
    Nobody has the money to bet on that long shot.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      One thinks of the German mileage travesty! Caused by daft EU regulations.

      The EU and management said to the design engineers “we need the car to pass this absurd test but then still be a practical car on the road too”. The engineers probably though you silly fools but is you really want that then this is how we do it – run it like this for the test and like that for the real world!

      The EU specs were the problem not the engineers.

  5. Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    A woke government in hock to the latest twitter feed outrage concocted by self interest groups supported by the BBC. This has allowed false or maybe very narrow information to corrupt the debate, hence the zero emissions mantra which we know over the nose to tail of the project is not true.

    The NHS, China, Energy, HS2, International Aid, billions wasted, closing down of free speech etc the government is not interested in listening to the views of the electorate or truly understanding the negative effects on it. You should be enhancing our quality if life not reducing it.

    Sadly I truly think very few care.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      Nig1

      “closing down of free speech etc the government is not interested in listening to the views of the electorate or truly understanding the negative effects on it.”

      “Sadly I truly think very few care.”

      But suddenly they care, and they pretend to listen when it comes to a general election. After which we are censured & gagged and left flat on our faces, time and time again.

      The answer is not to give them votes, any of them, they’re all the bloody same.

  6. Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    The government has ruined the car industry same as councils have destroyed the high street. People will not buy new cars when they are going to be shafted for tax and no go zones.
    Get out of the way and let people run their lives.
    I think Cummings understands this so maybe a glimmer of hope.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

      Ian Wragg

      “The government has ruined the car industry”

      Can’t agree with you on that one Ian, I think the motor industry, like many others has ruined itself.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

      +1

  7. Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    “Muddle” neatly sums up successive government policies towards the car industry. To that description “hostility” could easily be added based on public comments by some leading politicians. The industry suffers the misfortune that it is high profile, that politicians think they should be telling those businesses what they should make, how they must run their business. The disastrous push to diesel, its equally disastrous reversal of that policy to replaced by the push to electric will bankrupt and destroy the industry. For some politicians it will be job done.

  8. Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    I know of three prominent people who work in London who are now pretty much working from home. They live way out in the country it saved them a couple of hours each way every day.
    I live by a major East-West trunk road. It is not nearly as full as it was b.c.
    Traffic into our town, too has gone down a lot since the schools closed down.

  9. Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    We have had more than enough fully serviceable, long-lasting cars that provide essential transport for work and leisure for a decade. This obsession with them, and the making of them does little for our economy – unless UK owned and produced all aspects of manufacture – WE DON’T. It is about time the UK produced items we need to use and update for our well being, food, clothing, domestic use products, take ownership of Utility companies etc. Repair and build hospitals, roads, railways.
    It can’t be that difficult surely?

  10. Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    The British government has turned into a socialist, central planning nightmare. It should not be up to government to decide what cars are built or how people travel. If it has to exist at all it should be as a janitor. Just keep systems running and keep the streets clear of rubbish. Janitors do not decide how the place is run. Politicians and bureaucrats always consider themselves as rulers. They are not, they are employees and not very good ones at that.

  11. Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:32 am | Permalink

    I have sufficient faith in science and engineering to know that the Internal Combustion Engine and its fuels can be progressively sanitized. I have little faith in our government’s ability to realise this or even understand it. Electric vehicles and their theoretical support system are at present only fit for home charging and local shopping which puts government into the category of snake oil salesmen.

    Were I the Minister of Transport I would borrow Chequers for a week and invite all the industry and specifically research and development to come and present their case, with a timescale, for the continuation of ICE use in the car industry. Ignore the green lobby and the civil service, we want a seminar that is factually led.

  12. Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Exactly. The government is tying to make the industry build and sell cars no one wants. Then using taxpayers money to “bribe” people to buy premature inflexible and limited technology. The logical thing to do is to delay any purchase and keep you old car. This is also often the greenest thing to do too. Electric car are far from zero emmision anyway (not that co2 plant food is a real problem anyway).

    They are also messing up the housing industry in similar ways with idiot taxes and landlords and thus tenants, mistguied lending restrictions, OTT greencrap building controls, attacks on gas boilers, over the top electric and gas regulations and much else. Plus unfair competition from social housing providers and coucils.

  13. Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Sunak seems to think it is a great plan to tax people perhaps £8,000 then waste about £3,000 on tax officers & bureaucracy then give the people back a £5,000 voucher (that they can only spent with a few approved and therefore overpriced providers only on insulation and similar). He is surely an economic illiterate.

    But if he does believe this clearly we should just tax everyone at at 100% + then give then vouchers for everything one for breakfast item they can only spent at three supermarkets, one for other house repairs they can only spend at B&G, one for electric and gas they can only spend at a few approved suppliers etc. ………… Economic and environmental lunacy from the man.

    We do not want a temp stamp duty holiday we want lower simpler taxes everywhere.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      The EU was doing essentially the same as the first paragraph about too. Take £billion of the UK waste most of it then give the rest back with all sorts of expensive and idiotic restrictions attached to it.

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 5:16 am | Permalink

        And on some cases demand the UK Government match that which the EU has given. In effect making us pay twice !

  14. Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Sir John
    I have yet to meet anyone who actually wants an all electric car.
    Roger

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

      I want one. I’d like a Tesla. Bit too pricy at the moment. I rarely drive beyond the range of an electric car.

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 5:55 am | Permalink

        My friend bough an £80K Tesla then had to spend about £20K on fast charging point at his two houses. Then after a month or two someone had a rather small crash into it while parked in London and it had to be written off and another one build and bought. Insurance on a Tesla cannot be that cheap I imagine if they are written off so easily.

        Hardly green and certainly not cheap! He traded in an old Grand Espace for almost nothing which was a rather better car to my mind.

    • Posted July 9, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      I’m open to the idea – but not until the range problem is sorted. I gather that Graphene batteries will be the game-changer, offering the prospect of a recharge in as little time as it takes to fill up a petrol tank. I will also want to be spared the expense of a full refit of the battery pack after a few years of use.

  15. Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Agree.
    The car industry has suffered from one of the more unjoined-up episodes of utter muddle of changing policy on the hoof and increased taxation from the government.
    Another example of muddle is our energy generation (unpredictable windfarms, reliance on power from EU, foreign build of our nuclear power stations, and green taxation and subsidies to make it both expensive and inefficient).

    As I see it, before we can improve, we need a change in national mindset from selective single issue group thought to a broad evidence-based discourse in order to improve outcomes. Well done to JR for his efforts injecting some sense into the debate.

  16. Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    As you point out, very big error indeed in Government thinking, they want the increasing taxes, but not the purchases or use of a particular product.

    As soon as electric cars or any alternative start to sell in any sort of volume, they will raise taxes on them as well.

    Do we know yet with any certainty when the cut off date is for purchasing new, petrol, diesel and hybrid cars, is it 2032, 2035 or 2040, as all have been mentioned at different times.

    In the meantime is it any wonder that people are loath to stump up £30 -40,000 or more for a new car, knowing it will be worthless in just over a decade.

  17. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    IMVHO far too much emphasis is applied to the car industry – Our roads are pretty full up already – why do we make more cars?
    Ah yes, the government wins through employment and various forms of taxation – Yet the country is so badly served with roads.
    Mass production of cars, as far as UK manufacturing is concerned belongs to the last century — we should be able to take a leap forward and produce high quality add-ons to cars that make them safer and energy efficient, and export that as a high quality product – OR other technogical inventions …. I’m always amazed that we are still in the throwaway age, with no priority given to things like cars that should last generations
    As a nation we need to make use of our ability to innovate with technology, to make our lives and country better – Not just to fill it up
    OK, so the roads are full and unlikely to improve. Where should we focus our attention to restore the UK to the forefront of manufacturing?
    First we should bring food production into the 21st century, then we should look up and outwards – There are vast benefits to be had from space exploration. We can benefit from that massively with the right leadership.
    For this all to happen though, something has to be done about how we live as a society – not just talking about conflicts, but we are barely out of the stone age as a society.
    The way we live and mix with people, the way the elderly are treated, the way we are ruled — this has to improve before we can conquer the stars. We as Humans have shown we are not just irresponsible hunter gatherers now living in something we call society, but we don’t know what that should be.
    Take the craziness out of us at all levels – stop building cars to flood the roads, create a new contract between rulers and ruled, invest in the elderly and young alike, then perhaps we can see the way forward for a better more balanced, less destructive future.

  18. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Personally I wouldn’t buy a new car, these days there’s too much goes into the design to prevent owners from maintaining / repairing them, and like most consumer items these days they have built – in lifespan.

    I’m all for breaking dealership’s monopoly on maintenance.

    I have a number of vehicles, some having multi point fuel injection, some single point injection, a Jaguar with carbs, coil and distributor ignition, and a fairly modern V6 3.0L Jag with ECU controlled everything. Also have an old Mercedes diesel van which proves immortality is possible.

    That said I do have a good workshop and the skills to go with it, which these days is rare.

    Victims of our own progress, sums it up perfectly in my opinion.

  19. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    VED should be scrapped (and adjust road fuel taxation), at one time having to produce your documents at a Post Office served as a check on legality but this is done electronically now.

    If there was no VED, with the availability of multi-car polices, it would likely give a boost to the motor industry – which is more than just new car sales. There are a lot of smaller companies who not only supply the car factories but also after market (OE equivalent) component parts to motor factors and retail. In fact more people are probably employed in the supply and after market sectors than employed at the actual car factories!

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      jerry

      “VED should be scrapped”

      What, and put all those left wing grassers at the DVLA out of a fat pension ? Don’t be silly Jerry.

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 6:13 am | Permalink

        @steve; The DVLA does more than just issue VED demands, as its full name implies! I hope yours was an (failed) attempt at satire…

  20. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    How do you address the point I made two days ago?
    As we are forced toward electric cars, how will this or any Gov. make up the significant tax revenue losses caused by the demise of the internal combustion vehicle.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      @OA; If the Govt wants to tax EVs like IC engined cars it will tax the electricity used to charge the cars traction batteries, the driver inserting either a smart-card or credit/debit card, just as we do when filling up at ‘Pay-at-the-Pump’ filling stations, if no card is presented then the data-connection between car and charging station will simply bill the registered keeper – simple, and certainly not rocket science!

      The bigger problem is having enough electricity generating capacity to meet the increased demand from changing over to EVs, electric home heating and further electrification of the railway network.

      If this Tory govt doesn’t start making “net-zero” policies logically, step by step, we are heading for an energy supply crisis not seen since early 1974…

  21. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Just read of another dumb government decision. NHS workers are to start paying car parking charges again shortly. It negates all that hand clapping outside No.10., and indicates the real attitude of government to the NHS. Who runs PR at No. 10, if anyone.

    • Posted July 9, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      It will also make the staff use public transport, just when ministers have told us that it’s safer to use a car.

  22. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    At one end of the scale, there are probably fewer drivers who can afford to upgrade to a new car every couple of years.

    At the other end, improved car reliability means that more drivers will be happy to buy a decent second hand car and run it into the ground.

    The car industry is likely to shrink further.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      That’s my plan. 8 year old Toyota. I just keep extending the warranty. I can keep doing this until it’s 12 years old.

  23. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    We have a govt. that shut down our “Health Service” in order to “fight“ a disease ( that didn’t really play ball) and there is expectation that they might get car manufacturing policies right!!
    Please!
    They either want to do away with cars or they don’t know which lobbyist to please next.

  24. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    The VED effectively kills the market in new cars.

    Take a basic car add just a few required good for safety extras and you are a couple of £100 into a ridiculously high tax regime. The basic efficiency of the car is the same

    Pushing car drivers towards tax subsidized battery cars, that simply because of the battery have a poor life span therefore poor residuals. That in turn mean poor green credentials – Is insane Government manipulation of choice and the usual not thinking it through.

    Manufacturing of cars is by default an inhibitor to a brave new green world. Being forced to buy new with a short life span, increases output destroying any green credential.

    As a for instance the VW Group creates a profile for efficient cars while producing them using power from their own coal fueled power stations. Green credentials should include the ‘whole of life’ of a car.

    Cars should come with a warrantee that should at least cover a half life of 7 years including any batteries. Even after that the cost of replacement batteries should not exceed the price of the car at the time of replacement.

    The clothing industry is now renowned for its throw-away culture, Government in its doctrine is introducing this in to the Auto sector.

    Government needs to stop and think before bowing to sound-bites.

  25. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    This really misses the point- all cars, inc. the cheapest models, are better equipped and more reliable so the need to change frequently is reduced. Financing deals help the industry but the competitive environment makes it difficult for manufacturers to achieve the profits needed for investment. It really has very little to do with public policy whether that be UK or EU.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

      “all cars, inc. the cheapest models, are better equipped and more reliable so the need to change frequently is reduced”

      Not so. ALL cars these days have a predetermined lifespan. Same as any other consumer item.

      They might perform admirably for say five years…..then rot out very rapidly, or, as in the case of certain German cars….camshaft & head gasket failure.

      British cars are no exception either, they’re full of dirty tricks.

      Manufacturers don’t want to make cars that last a life time (although they’re perfectly capable of doing so), cause if that’s what they sold you then you wouldn’t go back and buy another one.

  26. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The Government appears to have a policy, of getting those that can’t afford a new car to subsidies those that can.

    It is one of the many illustration of the inequality of the UK tax system. The small business is forced to subsidies the big conglomerate. The High Street shop is forced to subsidies the online store that then under cuts them.

    Tax in this sense should be based on sales, not on declared profit. We all personally including businesses enjoy the infrastructure, the health and wellbeing and security our taxpayer has funded. So for those that get to free-load and undercut those funding the system it is offensive. A system that allows them to accrue the wealth and fund the future of their enterprise at the expense those that funded and created it is offensive. The UK tax system is the government kicking the taxpayer in the teeth

  27. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Get in and go (without face mask) put anything that needs to be carried in the boot – until public transport can replicate that experience we need cars.

    They don’t have to be new but they do have to work consistently. Just like a new phone there will always be people who believe newer is best and those who se it as a waste of resources when the features are not fully utilised. There is room for both in this world.

  28. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    It’s tough being in business.
    Who would be a wheelwright in the age of factory produced hubs, wheels and pneumatic tyres?

    Changes are happening with more speed now, due to better communications and faster implementation, but plus ca change. We had 100 years of the internal combustion engine. Something else will come through as being more convenient, cleaner, reliable, cheaper. The fact that we aren’t there yet doesn’t mean we go back and prop up the old technology. Let the old continue until it dies and let investors choose the new solution.

    Get the government largely out of it.

  29. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Good article. I don’t favour a scrappage scheme but the taxation of car purchases should be reduced until sales of vehicles produced in the UK have rebounded. And the Net Zero nonsense needs to be reviewed. The ‘science’ isn’t settled – and the May government fell for a con.
    P.S. I drive a diesel Jaguar XE, with a DEF exhaust system. It is clean enough to get into Central London.

  30. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    JR, The scientists (well, many of them) are not saying what the activists say they’re saying. And the government listens to the activists. That is why mistakes like promoting diesel cars are made. A similar mistake was made with CFLs, and is being made with Wind and Solar.

    There is another factor. If the consumer is constantly being jostled by inconsistent government instruction – buy diesel, don’t buy diesel, buy hybrid, don’t buy hybrid, etc – very many will say “a pox on it all” and will just stick with what they’ve got. And that’s where we are.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

      – very many will say “a pox on it all” and will just stick with what they’ve got.

      Yep.

  31. Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Just when a car model is perfected it is changed by the manufacturer – Ford was famous for this to further sales. Then govt interfere with tax and create problems esp for taxing Company car drivers in complex ways. No wonder manufacturers and finance companies created debt balloon Personal contract purchase schemes to enhance car sales.

    I would like to know what the debt has ballooned to because that will account for a large part of the problem drop. Also more folk are riding bikes and soon electric scooters due to make inroads. Staying off Public buses and trains should see more car jouneys. Above all when money is tight folks are being rightly cautious and sensible.

    O/T Barnier playing away from home indicates for the first time in 5 years we have negotiating power too. Perhaps he can come more often to show humility and the reality of the calamity facing EU Brussels etc. He should be under no illusions that we mean business not playing political games.

  32. Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Sir John, I agree with your summary and in particular your last paragraph…it is indeed governments direct and indirect involvement in attempting to shape the automotive industry rather than allowing the market place to develop naturally by consumer want and need, which is the problem

  33. Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    You wouldn’t want to be a shareholder in a car company that is trying to battle all these headwinds would you?
    Perhaps you could help those of us who are managing their own retirement savings by asking Boris and Dom if there are any businesses that they don’t plan to ruin?

  34. Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    In my view, the incentive to regularly exchange a functional car for a new one is a problem with our society. Basically some people work to produce the essentials of life (food, power, clean water, etc.) and the rest of us trade consumer goods and services to get our share of those essentials. Does this process have to be fuelled by the conversion of natural resources into landfill and pollution at the fastest rate possible?

  35. Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    It does seem like less government rather than more is required!

    Breaking my own advice it would be nice to see some control over the number of cars that people own, i.e. if you have nowhere to keep it you can’t have it!

    A semi-detached house of my aquaintance has four cars in what was the front garden, two on the grass verge and two on the road. Not unrelated, a small city-centre engineering company that I had contracts with struggled to maintain access because the adjacent car business used all the surroundingt streets to hold his stock. It wouldn’t be acceptable to fill the roads with pallets of light-engineering parts so why cars?

  36. Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    How I agree with you Sir John.

    You say that the Government wants a very different sort of car industry. Yes, they want one that makes EV’s but they will not get that either because they will be made elsewhere in countries that have cheap electricity, from coal and nuclear! So the UK will simply export emissions, jobs and revenue.

    There is in fact little chance of bringing back significant manufacturing of anything so long as there is this senseless policy of zero carbon.

    I see that there is considerable textile manufacturing in Leicester. What they seem to have done is offset high electricity costs with ultra cheap labour.

  37. Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

    Michael Gove did a pretty good job of wrecking this industry, so crucial to our economy, with his forthcoming ban on diesels. Other ministers have twisted the knife by driving up manufacturing energy costs with their obsession with costly renewables and by illogical tax policies.
    At risk of repetition from previous posts, electric cars are neither ‘clean’ nor ‘green’ except in the narrow context of urban emissions, where conventional cars were making great strides already. The mining to extract battery minerals is at huge environmental and human costs including children working in deplorable conditions in the Democratic (sic) Republic of Congo. A plea to ministers – please stop sweeping this under the carpet to appease the Green Mafia. If every driver in Britain changes to electric it will not change global climate one iota as most climate change is unrelated to emissions.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

      I must say I found it quite extraordinary that such an announcement could be made with no prior debate in Parliament, let alone the wider public: green totalitarianism. It is also a major concern that the decision seems to have been based on misleading and inadequately proven medical statistical extrapolations, much as we have seen with coronavirus. There really should be proper informed debate afresh that looks at the real world performance of modern diesel cars, with particulate filters and Adblue systems reducing pollution to very low levels, and controlling CO2 to low levels as well.

      There is still time to reverse it.

  38. Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    I took my 12yr old car into the local garage for a repair. Said I was thinking of changing it. They asked why. They were of the opinion that more recent cars are more complicated and more expensive to maintain.
    If that is widely believed, then those that own older cars will not wish to update until their car reaches end of life.
    This is good for the environment, the modern throwaway culture is very wasteful.

  39. Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    £5000 vouchers for loft insulation says it all really.

    How exciting. Doubtless some ‘apprenticed’ youth will be putting his foot through my ceiling trying to roll it out soon.

    I’d LOVE to buy a new car with its free servicing plus warranty and no MOT for three years but that’s not my reality.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      “I’d LOVE to buy a new car with its free servicing”

      Last time I bought a new one was in 2000, it was British, and had to pay for servicing.

      The car was a bag of crap as it happens, right from brand new.

  40. Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Off topic but indicates the state of this nation and the power and influence of MSM and lobbyists

    On the TV parliament channel today ‘’work of the MET police commissioner’’

    We are today refereeing ourselves to the IOPC in relation to a stop & search of olympic athlete …..Although no public complaint has been received we consider the number of hits on tweeter a complaint in itself

    I despair in this snowflake response from the met police

    • Posted July 9, 2020 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      And the police wonder why they have no authority anymore

      What happened to the days of tough it out?

  41. Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    I see the Tory Brexiteers – who claim to love Global Britain – art refusing to nominate Peter Mandelson to lead the WTO because he might actually win. (He also votes Remain).

    Instead they are going to nominate Liam Fox – who cannot possibly win. The WTO head is decided by consensus and the EU has made it clear that they will not support Fox, who they consider unqualified. An EU source told the FT that Fox is ‘not taken seriously’ when it comes to trade. This is a fair assessment considering his almost Grayling-esque performance as trade secretary.

    Mandelson, as a former EU trade commissioner, would get the support of the EU. But is not being nominated by the ideologues.

    Instead Little Britain is likely to have to accept a Kenyan or Moldovan running the WTO instead.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

      Of course the U.K. govt is not going to nominate mandelson who would use the position as a platform to moan on about Brexit. We’ve got enough people doing that already at the public expense! It is notable that you claim that the EU would also only support someone who is an idealogical support of EU-federalism, and who is also it seems based on recent news, a CCP sycophant.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

      Doesn’t make sense to have somebody who dissmisses the importance of the WTO running it.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      Well I would not vote for anyone taking the Chinese shilling. Nor anyone who created the Dome. Nor finally anyone who bust a gut to overturn a democratic referendum result.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Andy

      “I see the Tory Brexiteers – who claim to love Global Britain are refusing to nominate Peter Mandelson to lead the WTO because he might actually win”

      No, it’s because Mandelson is a leftie who served under Blair. If the Tories nominated this guy they’d be fling out of government for sure at the next election.

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        If the Tories nominated this guy they’d be fling out of government for sure at the next election.

        Don’t be daft. It doesn’t matter what they do – what ‘leftie’ agenda they follow, no matter how much immigration they allow, no matter how much they borrow, no matter how much they infringe personal liberty – YOU WILL STILL VOTE FOR THEM!

        You are part of the problem.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

      Surely you don’t like Manndleson?

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

      Is the EU a champion of free trade? I think not – so it would be inappropriate for anyone drawing an EU pension to be the WTO’s leader.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

      Why resort to snide, arrogant and racist-sounding remarks? This Brexiteer would welcome a Kenyan or Moldovan as long as she or he was qualified and has the vision to encourage global free trade that will lift millions out of poverty.

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        has the vision to encourage global free trade that will lift millions out of poverty.

        You do realise that ‘global free trade’ will put millions into poverty too?

        • Posted July 9, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

          History shows that global free trade has enriched billions of people.

          Compare the standards of living in North and South Korea or East Germany and West Germany.

    • Posted July 9, 2020 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      Mandleson, the negotiator who sold British Leyland home owned car industry for a pound to be closed down and sold for its land.

  42. Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    ” The industry is caught spending money closing down the old before its time, and spending even more money on the new before there is mass demand”

    The government could start by getting rid of their obsession with being “Zero Carbon” by ever closer dates, and scrapping the ruinous Climate Change Act. The car industry is (or rather, was) making considerable progress with more efficient engines. But it now has to try and convince the public to buy expensive, range limited, EV’s instead…

  43. Posted July 8, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Cars are better made than they used to be. When I was younger, I changed my car every 3-4 years as this was the age they became unreliable and started to rust. My last two cars I have kept for 10 years plus and my current one is still going strong. I could easily afford a new car but wouldn’t consider an electric vehicle as battery technology isn’t yet robust enough.

  44. Posted July 8, 2020 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    There are lots of concerns buying a new car, the government is not consistent on advice about which cars they want to tax off the roads in the future, I wouldn’t buy a diesel full stop, the new electrics I’ve no confidence in, I run a car for between 15 and 17 years so I don’t want to buy a quickly obsolete car and potential battery problems.

    We’ve had an 18 plate Citroen van off the road for over six weeks because they can’t get spares to repair it, even from their main dealership. We need confidence in the spare parts of whatever vehicle we buy and with all the threats from Europe this has made us reluctant to buy any more EU models, we have looked at Jaguar for the first time because of their stated commitment to build and invest in the UK but I don’t like their Land Rover and we need to research more information about their full electric (range, where you can recharge, home recharging ease and cost, plus would we be buying too early into new technology for such a long owned vehicle) before we commit.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      Wasn’t it the EU that insisted all car production had to come with anticipated 7 years of spare parts requirement?
      Well if you would buy French…

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        The other vans can’t compete on cost. Plus Merc Sprinters have problems with parts too.

        • Posted July 9, 2020 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

          Ok – so you are content with your van being off the road for 6 weeks – this time. What about next time?
          Most people would say 6 days is outrageous.

          • Posted July 10, 2020 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

            ? Errr I’m outraged I can’t afford six days let alone 6 weeks, we’re told by our garage it’s Covid related delays in parts I’ve complained to the manufacturer – I just don’t see much choice at the moment in the van market. I really hope Kia, Hyundai and the others start to look at this area of the U.K. market because I know a lot of people are really disgruntled at van suppliers right now!

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Jaguar had to stop production of i-pace models because the supply of batteries from China dried up. A reminder:

      if we replace all of the UK vehicle fleet with EVs, and assuming they use the most resource-frugal next-generation batteries, we would need the following materials:
      • 207,900 tonnes of cobalt – just under twice the annual global production;
      • 264,600 tonnes of lithium carbonate – three quarters of the world’s production;
      • at least 7,200 tonnes of neodymium and dysprosium –nearly the entire world production of neodymium;
      • 2,362,500 tonnes of copper – more than half the world’s production in 2018.

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        Scary figures Mark, thanks for the info.

  45. Posted July 8, 2020 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    The mayor of London & TfL certainly don’t like cars & are doing everything in their power to curtail car travel by massively increasing the congestion charge & laying down thousands of blue & white barriers to narrow the roads down to single file. Prime example being Hyde Park which has been restricted from four lanes down to one.
    They complain of a loss of income since the lockdown but they’ve had the solution in their hands for many years but don’t have the political courage to implement it & that is automatic trains on the underground. The technology is there as the Docklands light Railway shows but Khan is too frightened of the RMT who will take strike action at any suggestions of efficiency in running the tube. Like other public sectors they think more of themselves than the public whom they’re supposedly serving.

  46. Posted July 8, 2020 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    With spaces in the House of Commons limited is it too much to ask of those members who do have the opportunity to attend that they put their phones away and pay attention to proceedings?

  47. Posted July 8, 2020 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    JR is accusing the government of doublethink: they are guilty as charged. This is not a consequence of hypocrisy but of irrationality. Unfortunately, politicians are qualified for their jobs by obtaining Arts degrees for which elementary science or logic are not required. Someone with a scientific mind would feel uncomfortable advocating policies which are irrational because it goes against the grain of their nature.

    Meanwhile my local council without consultations and in the night, re-allocated half an A road passing through the borough to cyclists with an immediate single lane gridlock in both directions but no more cyclists then previously. It’s the cyclists that need controlling not the motorists. Motorists do not drive at night without lights, do not ignore traffic lights or ride on pavements and are taxed heavily for their privileges; most of the cyclists are fit young men who are also no doubt vegans who are keen to save the planet. When will governments start to govern instead of cowering before environmental and other extremists whose agendas if followed will destroy what has been built over centuries.

  48. Posted July 8, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    The car industry has made up its own mind on the direction it wants to take and that is electric cars.
    French, German and Japanese are focused on moving producti0n away from fossil fuels.
    Ford is following this trend. We can argue to merits of retaining fossil fuel cars but the genie is now out the bottle and in my opinion it really does not matter what the Gov tries to do, electric is the way forward. Having said that there may be some scope still for hybrid cars.
    Sadly even green Diesel has got a bad name and its now stuck with large cities banning them oh and York, I guess Oxford will be next and so on.
    May be we need a Gov push as part of infrastructure investment to inc a massive roll out programme of charging points?. I run a 2 year old Audi A6 diesel and I know second hand its almost worthless. Next car will be an electric or at least a hybrid because I sense its too late for pure fossil fueled cars.

  49. Posted July 8, 2020 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    I do not believe your interest in the car industry extends one millimetre beyond avoiding the blame for the entirely foreseeable end of the UK`s ability to complete in European markets thanks to Brexit .No one is giving up driving and everyone buys a reasonable car when they can.If Diesel is unpopular choices will change but not from driving to walking
    Covid 19 will pass and what will be left is an industry at a structural disadvantage , the consumer will also suffer
    Anyway its all been said ……… you will no doubt continue with your ‘moon made of cheese’ argument .Who cares any more

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      Tim

      “I think Mr Redwood has the right ideas”

      Depends on perspective really. If censuring perfectly reasonable opinion that harms no one is a good idea, then yes.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

      Newmania

      “Who cares any more.”

      I don’t.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

      You’ve not considered American Chinese Korean and Japanese cars then NM?

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

      Well Renault and Nissan are closing EU factories and consolidating in the EU. So they disagree with you. Maybe that’s why you don’t care anymore?

  50. Posted July 8, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Joined up Government?
    Banning the sales of (usable) cars from 2030, then express horror that car factories are closing,being moved elsewher or being run down.
    Politicans surprised people aren’t spending large sums of money on cars the Government has announced it will ban?
    A child of 5 could see the problem.
    As Reagan said about “I’m from the Government, and I’m here to help you”.
    That is why Americans have the 2nd amendment!

    Stop creating the problem! It is made in Westminster. Just stop making it worse.

    I think Mr Redwood has the right ideas, but no one in power seems to listen. Isnt that the sort of Goverment so much of the 3rd world is fleeing from? Why try so hard to make it here? If the Government doesn’t listen to the people you get anarchy.
    And I mean the people: voters. Not paid lobbyists and smoochers with their green scams.
    Didn’t Bojo learn anything from the last election?

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      The car industry is strategically very important to the UK. Now we are to be free from the shackles of the EU, we are able to develop our own industrial strategy.

      It’s obvious that there is a big differences between Government ( in realist civil service ) policy, and the reality of electric motoring, given the severe limitations and price of the current crop of electric cars.

      This is unsurprising because Civil Servants invariably live in or around big cities and if they own a car at all, they probably use it infrequently and for short trips. They have no understanding of the need for personal transport for anyone living outside a city or the pleasure motoring brings to those of us who enjoy touring holidays.

      A strategic review of the direction we should take over cars is therefore essential.
      it should cover all aspects of the practicalities of car use and the long term consequencies of all of the alt6ernative power sources available.

      I believe that any sensible review will conclude that the battery electric car is at best an interim solution but more likely a cul-de-sac and that Hydrogen Fuel Cell technology is the only long-term, sustainable source of power.

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Hydrogen Fool Cell?
        Why bother? The energy still has to come from somewhere.
        And extracting hydrogen, and finding some way to store it effectively is intensely wasteful.
        So you would spend trillions to just increase energy waste?
        The best form of stored hydrogen is with carbon: petrol, kerosene or diesel.
        Very safe, very compact, stores for long periods.
        And you can make it synthetically if you really insist: plants do.

    • Posted July 9, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      +1 fully agree with all your comments

  51. Posted July 8, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    While we all probably welcome the Chancellors speech, it is interesting to note it is just further tinkering, handing out grants, loans and ‘you will pay for them’ give-a-ways. All to address a broken tax system. A positive soundbite paid for with our money not the Chancellors or the Governments

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

      He should have eliminated VAT and called it a Brexit bonus. Funding work schemes for the young whilst allowing unlimited immigration is beyond stupid.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      +1. Silly childish gimmicks that will on balance do more harm than good. Plus loads more totally misguided greencrap lunacy. Clearly PPE graduates have not got a clue about real economics or real business, science, job creation or engineering.

      • Posted July 9, 2020 at 4:39 am | Permalink

        With one or perhaps two exceptions.

  52. Posted July 8, 2020 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    I am keeping my diesel car as long as possible.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

      The Diesel technology was designed to use coal dust , then in 1893, upon peanut oil ; possibly further development will emerge. It wont be the end until frying chips is outlawed!

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      +1 and my petrol ones.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

      We have one too and intend driving it into the ground.

    • Posted July 9, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      Me too.

  53. Posted July 8, 2020 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    I usually buy a one year old car and run it into the ground. A one year old car often costs 40% less than a new car. You imply that measures to get people to use new technology should be all carrot and no stick. In the current dire state of the public finances that isn’t possible.

    The simplest approach may be the best. Just ban the sale of all cars except electric cars and plug in hybrids ten years hence. That gives suppliers and dealers time to adjust.

  54. Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Sir John.

    Bang on the money with today’s entry.

    The car industry in the UK is between the rocks and a hard place and is trying to survive by appeasing all its masters that impact on their business. Environment, taxation, climate change, transport, business trade and employment departments. Each one trying to be seen to be having the biggest impact to justify their existence.

    Learn from history. In 1940 the government appointed a minister to take control of aircraft production to help with the survival of this country and get the factories and their suppliers working in harmony with a common purpose. I do not see a lot of difference in the state we find ourselves today and what was happening then. Politicians have got to man up and step forward and grasp the nettles,

    May I suggest IMHO that the first minister to be appointed for the British vehicles industry to stop the current madness is our current host. I do not think that people realise how important to this country the companies and workforce building cars and HGVs and how many people are directly and indirectly involved. One man , one vision giving the industry a belief and a purpose to tackle some of the mountains they are being forced to climb. Unite the foreign owners into building the best for the best and then pay the treasury. Its a win win for everybody. Come up with a business as usual strategy that will keep the workforce working and bringing revenue into the company for the chages being forced upon them.

  55. Posted July 9, 2020 at 3:31 am | Permalink

    The U.K. is once again making basic negotiating errors with the EU. We don’t need to offer them anything to sweeten a free trade deal covering just goods and food which would already to be their advantage. The EU is looking is retain weapons with which to be the U.K. in coming years and to remove any ability for the U.K. to respond and the U.K. appears to falling for this. Annual agreements on fish would give the U.K. future leverage but this short sighted government appears not to see this. The EU is also seeking to unilaterally remove financial equivalence at a moments notice while simultaneously removing
    the ability for the U.K. to Respond by reimposing tariffs on its surplus In goods and agriculture. The time for naive British negotiators is over. Wr cannot agree to Michel Barnier’s imaginative solutions that would leave the ECJ in de facto control as it is today over the EFTA court. We have to trade on WTO terms and rely on WTO arbitration rather than a playing field tipped dramatically towards Brussels in which they have unilaterally right to declare disputes, their courts (directly or indirectly) decide in their own favour and the U.K. has signed away all ability to respond.

  56. Posted July 9, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    Why don’t you restrict the ‘Motability Scheme’ to the sort of cars you want on our roads, if electric then electric only, get all the car companies that manufacture or pay taxes in the UK or have a certain % of the British public in their workforces priority on the list where you can lease cars from, ‘the leases generally run for three years from the date that you took delivery of your car. This date will be shown on your lease agreement. Three months before the end of your lease agreement , we will send you a letter to remind you that it is time to choose a new car on the Scheme’

    Within 3 years the re-sale market will be flooded with the types of cars you want and on.

  57. Posted July 9, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    A. Electric cars are far too expensive for the mobility scheme to run.

    B. After the lease expires most people won’t want them because the range is too short and
    the recharging time too long.

    C. After three years of the initial lease, battery electric cars will have, at most, five years
    warranty left on the battery. When the battery fails the cars are scrap because battery
    replacement is far too costly. That means that the first buyer will have a car worth
    effectively nothing within three years of buying it. That’s why depreciation on battery
    electric cars is the highest of any type of car you can buy. They are a very poor buy new
    or second hand.

  58. Posted July 9, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Any chance we can get the government to look at diesel again?

    The modern diesels are very clean and should really have a place in the future, at least in the medium term. Electric cars have a long way to go before you can do things like… fill it up quickly on a long journey.

  59. Posted July 14, 2020 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

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  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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