The car industry was badly wounded by joining the EEC/EU

One of the most deceitful arguments some Remain advocates use  is that the car industry depends on the EU for its success and would be adversely affected if we leave. They need to explain the damage membership of the EEC/EU did to it.

In 1972, our last year  as a free and independent country, the UK made 1.92 million cars. After just ten years in the EEC/EU that had crashed to just 888,000. Our membership was devastating to us, removing more than 50 % in a decade.

We have never made as many cars in any year during the whole 45 years of membership as we did the  year before we joined. Why did this happen?

Before we joined UK people mainly bought UK built cars. On joining we had to remove all tariffs and some other barriers on goods like cars where the Germans and French were more competitive. They did not remove barriers on services where we were  more competitive. When the tariffs came off more UK people chose continental cars and our industry faced savage cuts in jobs and output.

In later years we rebuilt some capacity thanks to Japanese and Indian investment, whilst losing much of the US capacity in the UK. Some manufacturers chose to switch production to cheaper EU locations in Spain and Eastern Europe.

We were told by some manufacturers that they woukd stop investing here if we failed to join the Euro. That turned out to be a lie. In recent years leading foreign carmakers have praised UK workforces and increased their investment.

The story of the car industry is a cameo of industry generally. EEC/EU membership wiped out a lot of industry in the 1970s when tariffs came off, with too few offsets given the one sided  liberalisation of trade. The UK has run a huge balance of payments deficit with the EU for most of our membership as a result.

Were the EU to insist on WTO tariffs the extra cost of German and French cars in the UK would doubtless lead to more UK buyers buying home produced vehicles.


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  1. Henry Spark
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 5:04 am | Permalink

    So Brexit will take us back to 1972, will it?

    No, don’t be silly

    • jerry
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 6:26 am | Permalink

      @Henry Spark; “So Brexit will take us back to 1972, will it?”

      I hope not, the UK needs to rediscover the spirit of the late 1950s, not what Nixon and Heaths idea of what the 1970s should be!

      • libertarian
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        Henry / Jerry

        I’d much rather we focused on the 21st century and the world leading tech advantage we have already , one that the EU is once again desperately trying to shut down in order to protect continental manufacturing and agriculture . The problem is that the EU wants to stay in the 1950’s to 1970’s .

        • jerry
          Posted July 15, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

          @Walter; I never said go back to the late 1950s, I said rediscover the spirit of the period. But then I can see why someone, such as yourself, so wedded to the most irresponsible period in modern capitalism (1980-2008) would hate to have their hands tied by responsible, measured, regulation and a social conscience.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

            1980 to 2008 saw the biggest increase in the number of new laws regulations directives and licensing requirements introduced onto businesses and individuals in our history.
            And, a big increase in social legislation improving and protecting rights of consumers and employees.

          • jerry
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

            Edward2; “[the 1980 to 2008 saw] a big increase in social legislation improving and protecting rights of consumers and employees.”

            Factories Act 1948
            Trade Descriptions Act 1968
            Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974
            Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977
            Sale of Goods Act 1979

            Your point being what, that non of the above laws existed before 1980, indeed much legislation improving and protecting rights of consumers and employees existed well before WW2, some pre-date the 20th Century. There has been nothing exceptional about consumers and employees protection since 1980 to date, indeed some very sensible protections have been removed or dumbed down either on grounds of political ideology or to allow the expansion of ill-advised financial products to be offered etc.

          • libertarian
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 6:11 pm | Permalink


            As you dont know me, have never met me and know nothing about what I think I can see why you spout so much drivel. I’m not wedded to any period in the past as its all pointless , its past. We live in a new age with vastly different things happening. Funnily enough I gave a University lecture on exactly this topic, Looking to the future , not the past only last week.

            A social conscience you say , and you would know what about that? If only you knew Jeremiah , if only you knew.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

            Your getting pedantic again Jerry
            I didn’t say there was no legislation before 1980 did I ?
            You said 1980 to 2008 was the period of the most irresponsible capitalism.
            That’s what you said.

            My post argued the during that period we saw a huge increase in legislation.
            Both corporate and social, which added controls onto businesses and added rights for citizens.
            So my opinion is that you are wrong.

    • zorro
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      I think that you area being silly aren’t you? Our growth overall was faster post war up until joining the EEC than it has been since entry. All JR is showing is the effect of unfair trade where we have been forced to allow tariff free access whilst EEC countries did not remove barriers on service industries which make up 80% of our economy. The picture is no different now after 40+ years inn the ‘club’. It has led to a skewing of our economy, uneven development and too much migration within the UK to city hotspots at the expense of the country as a whole.


      • Peter Wood
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Accepting your analysis, begs the question why has every government since not challenged (M. Thatcher, the partial exception) this uneven trade? Why did our leaders let such a clear imbalance continue, and why does the civil service and many of our present elected representatives still want it to continue. Something smells rotten…

        • zorro
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

          Indeed…. Well, who saw T May’s horlicks before anyone else such as our Cabinet and elected MPs?…. One Angele Merkel I fear. Need we say more!


      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        The main things killing growth and out ability to compete are over regulation, over taxation, over complex taxation, restrictive planning, lack of competition in the often rip off banking system, expensive greencrap energy and greencrap subsidies for premature and daft technology, daft & vague employments laws, the expensive and absurd legal system, far too many largely parasitic lawyers, the dire monopoly NHS (killing thousands and failing millions), lots of people borrowing often to get often rather pointless degrees in nonsense subject (thus not working for several years), the generally very poor schools, the no deterrent criminal justice systems and the endless subsidies to the augment the healthy but feckless with benefits …..

        May & Hammond alas love all this complete lunacy. They call it “maintaining high standards” it is actually just bonkers.

        These endless obstacles to productivity come both from the EU and the UK especially under May and Hammond. Under Corbyn it will be even worse he will put the unions in charge again and thief people’s property off them.

      • NickC
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        Zorro, That will all continue if the Robbins White paper is implemented. We will leave the existing treaties only to sign up to new ones and opt into a number of existing EU programs. Betrayal isn’t the word, it’s a coup d’etat.

        So we can expect more of the same – a vassal state car assembly industry, to go with the elimination or takeover of steel, aluminium, glass, cement and civil aircraft manufacturing. Then of course the German car industry is subsidised by mercantilism. The last thing we need, or want, is a FTA with the EU.

    • Kevin
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Quite right. It’s as ridiculous suggesting that the repeal of Prohibition would restore alcohol sales.

  2. Nig l
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 5:23 am | Permalink

    When I was a child my parents often used to reply ‘because it is’ when I asked about something difficult that they didn’t know the answer to on the basis that as my parents I was expected to accept their answer because they knew better.

    Theresa May is taking me back to a child again (and now a grown up mug). If she and her sycophants want me to accept what they say they have to make a detailed rebuttal of articles like the ones on this blog and elsewhere.

    The fact that they don’t tells me they can’t and if they think I, and I suspect millions of others, will merely accept (trust) what they say, as I did with my parents, they really are living in a fantasy world.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      Indeed she reminds me of a dim, bossy, primary school teacher.

      As indeed does Penny Mordant Minister for Women and Equalities & the Minister of State for Energy and Clean Growth – The Rt Hon Claire Perry MP.

      I suspect the latter does not know the first thing about energy or electricity generation, the different values of ‘on demand’ energy or intermittent production, the losses and cost of storage, the laws of thermodynamics, the huge losses involved in electric cars (cradle to grave) or even I suspect the units energy is measured in. The BBC endlessly confuse energy with power on TV. They often have some Catz, English graduate endlessly talking the usual alarmist drivel.

      How can one be Minister for Women ‘and’ Equalities anyway which is it, can she tell us perhaps?

    • NickC
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Nig 1, There are TWO White papers the one by Olly Robbins’ No.10 unit and the one by DExEU. I have read the executive (??) summary of Robbins and its MO is obvious: leave the existing treaties and sign up to new ones. That way Mrs May can claim we’re leaving on 29th March 2019 with a straight face, though we will in practice be back under the EU’s thumb on 30th March.

      It is not Brexit “watered down”, it’s not merely a betrayal of Brexit. It is actually not Brexit at all. It is Remain, with a one or two minor exceptions. The big multinationals. like the car giants, have leaned on HMG months ago, and Mrs May has bowed to their blackmail – whilst completely ignoring the rest of the economy. Mrs May’s motto is: “For the Few Multinationals, Not the Many British businesses”.

  3. Ian wragg
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    Why don’t you publish the Canada plus document which Davies was trying to negotiations before Oilly Robins was put in charge.

    • Stred
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      It’s available on now and is a sensible approach to doing what was in the manifesto and on accordance with previous speeches. But, presumably, the PM and unelected civil servants were talking to their German opposite numbers and wrote the capitulation papers instead.

      • Stred
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink also has devastatingly clear graph today showing how uninformed MPs are who say the single market is to British industry. The figures come from the Commission.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

          We need more detail.

      • rose
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

        Extraordinary how the PM is still pursuing her spiteful vendetta against Nigel Farage but is happy to collude with the socialists to ram her non Brexit through Parliament.

  4. Peter VAN LEEUWEN
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 5:29 am | Permalink

    Now the EU is made the scapegoat for lack of UK competitiveness? That doesn’t bode well for the post Brexit period. Other global players (China, India etc.) will be yet more competitive.
    I agree that the EU should develop much more of a single market in services, that is now going too slowly.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      I wish you would keep your nose out. We have enough Jeremiahs I government.
      I see Hammond is to sign the City up to Brussels regulatory framework. Every day another betrayal.
      Just when are you going to get rid of May and Hammond

      • JoolsB
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        It’s a complete and utter mystery why May and Hammond are still in post. The betrayals are going to come thick and fast now because they think they will get away with it as they have so far. So many of us are crying out for pro-Brexit Tory MPs to make a stand. What is up with them?

      • Nig l
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Yes. Any vestige of truth in their statements that they are delivering what we voted for has finally disappeared in a blizzard of dissembling.

        Pragmatic is their buzz word obviously worked out used collectively at every opportunity, to convince us how reasonable they are.

        I have a similar word, pathetic.

    • zorro
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      I wonder why it is going so slowly Peter in comparison to tariff free access on other industries? Nothing to do with the UK dominating the service industry sector of course….


    • Andy
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      The single market in services is harder to achieve – but we should not underestimate progress.

      Many qualifications are now recognised across the EU – allowing professionals to move and businesses to expand. Areas like finance and architecture – in which Britain excels – significantly benefit from the single market.

      But areas like law and accountancy are much harder. Training as a lawyer in England can never be adequate enough training to practice law in France.

      Absolutely the EU needs to target the few remaining closed professions but we should not pretend that there has been no progress in services when there has been loads.

      • NickC
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        Andy, The UK does not benefit from the single market at all. The figures for GDP growth show plainly that UK growth has been lower in the EEC/EU, and more volatile.

        The only reason services access is “harder to achieve” is we have already capitulated on goods, fish and agriculture, but the EU has refused to reciprocate on services.

        • hans christian ivers
          Posted July 15, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink


          We have done exceedingly well on services in the Eu in the past 30 years , in both financial services , management consulting accounting, investments services etc, but you probably missed it

          • Edward2
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

            Despite no trade deals and not having single market rules for services.
            They have thrived.

          • libertarian
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink


            We have we’ve also done exceedingly well in all those fields OUTSIDE the EU in the last 30 years. It has nothing to do with the EU

    • Stred
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      I used to use my mums Dutch Daft car. It had elastic rubber bands instead of gears. There was no differential and the wheels skipped when parking. The rubber bands broke every few thousand mile. It was replaced by a Mazda which ran reliably. The British car industry managed to produce crap too. We had the Marina and Allegro. The cars were painted badly an the rainwater ran off over unpainted areas. Rust reduced the life of them and we bought makes that lasted longer. Not all German cars were reliable. The worst car I ever had was sn NSU prinz which had a motor bike engine in the boot. Then their, unfortunately named Wankel engine didn’t do very well either. Make good well designed cars or die.

      • Stred
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

        Daf car

        • Edward2
          Posted July 15, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

          You were right first time Stred !

    • libertarian
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink


      Theres a reason for that Peter. I’ll tell you again. The EU is a protectionist customs union. It protects manufacturing and agriculture , protectionism makes business non innovative , fail to adapt and less creative about developing the future. Its why the EU is at war with the internet, digital business, and financial services. The thing the rest of the EU needs to face up to is that you are all failing behind the rest of the world at a rapid pace

      • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

        @libertarian: Yet we (the Dutch) are more competitive than you (the UK). We’re not falling behind but always adapting and innovating.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink


          Not in the new Digital industries you’re not. to be fair the Dutch are doing better at it than Germany but then the Germans have no presence at all in the markets .

          • hans christian ivers
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink


            Beware the Professor Libertarian always knows best,and you better not forget it

          • Peter VAN LEEUWEN
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

            @Libertarian: Neth – 4, UK – 8 (global competitiveness index).
            Digital industries in the UK are the very ones that will be harmed by Brexit, so good luck to you.

          • libertarian
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 6:16 pm | Permalink


            Its really really really easy being right when you use verifiable facts… You ought to give it a try…

          • libertarian
            Posted July 16, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink


            Yeh because the USA and the rest of the world dont have any digital markets….. Lol you win stupidest post of the day

            Good luck surviving the Article 13 copywrite fiasco… maybe have a word with Spain to see how that went

            London now third in Global Tech Startups

            1) Silicon Valley
            2) New York
            3) London


            19) Amsterdam

    • Jagman84
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Without the parasitic EU middleman, that you so worship, the European nations would be allowed to flourish. Forcing countless regulation and unlimited 3rd world immigration on to them (including non-EU nations in the path of the human tsunami) is not a recipe for prosperity.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      UK lack of competitiveness is not for want of trying, PvL.

      Daily there are TV shows on skilled and professional people moving to Australia.

      Why do they do it ? Because their pay is doubled and their hours halved and they actually get to spend time with their families.

    • APL
      Posted July 15, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      PvL: “Other global players (China, India etc.) will be yet more competitive.”

      China is a hollow shell of an economy. Built around a property speculation bubble.

      They have utterly empty cities, which have been build on prime agricultural land. In the process losing the ability to make that land productive.

      And building standards that are so lax that skyscrapers have fallen over.

      I don’t imagine India is all that different, but for the money paid from successful Indians in the UK. Likewise Pakistan.

      Another truthful post that won’t get past John Redwoods Mintruth.

  5. Leilo Fraser
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    I do sometimes wonder if this site is one big hoax. You cannot believe any of this garbage. “The UK” has never made a single car in its history. Carmakers based in the UK have made cars, but all over the world carmakers are now multinational, using cross-border supply chains in order to extract comparative advantage, in line with basic trade theory. Talking about British cars or French cars or German cars is pure nonsense – there is no such thing

    • Edward2
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      You need to consider who owns the company and where the profits that are made end up.
      And consider the the taxation and wages generated by the UK automotive industry.
      Your claim that the UK has never made a single car in its history is nonsense.

      • Jagman84
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

        Well said. Even within the West Midlands region, over 100 separate private car manufacturers were formed. By mismanagement and/or take over, the number steadily reduced to levels where the BMC was formed by HM Government. That neatly takes us to 1972 where the EEC/EC/EU decided to attempt to finish it off for the benefit of German & French companies.

        • getahead
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

          I thought the Unions did that.

    • Steve
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      so you think the UK has never made a single car in it’s history ?

      That statement is garbage in itself.

      The UK only ceased to make purely British cars when the EU closed down the foundries. Ford’s foundry was the last to go I think.

    • Steve
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      This site is not a hoax in any way.

      Despite the current times where we are under attack from within by those with maligned allegiance, at least we have one MP who is prepared to give us a platform at expense of his own resources.

      I don’t know of any other MP who does this. The rest would run a mile at the thought of being accessible to the electorate.

      Get elected and then be open to the tax paying electorate ? ……perish the thought !

      John Redwood also personally answers correspondence from the public….I can vouch for that.

      That’s why I would reverse my decision to join UKIP and vote conservative. BUT…..John Redwood would have to be PM.

      • Ed Mahony
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        Mr Redwood is one of my favourite figures in public life. Not because I agree with him about politics overall (I disagree with him about a lot). But because he has the decency to allow people to be critical of what he says.

        Don’t worry, Mr Redwood. Not going to comment on your site again (as I’ve commented way too much, taking up way too much of your time). But just to say THANK YOU and APOLOGIES (for many of my silly / boring comments in the past).

        Hope you have a great summer – holidays etc

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          +1. This is no echo chamber and it’s why I come here.

          I hope you stick around, Ed.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        With reference to your last paragraph, this is very telling. The Tory party keeps people like JR well away from the levers of power because it is fundamentally a pro-EU party, and a different opinion in the cabinet that successfully counters their narrative would never do. Can we really expect such a party to deliver a good clean Brexit without the mother and father of all balls-ups?

        No wonder people are fed up with the Tories and are clamouring for a change of direction and leadership.


    • L Jones
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Leilo obviously doesn’t understand the term ”home produced”.

    • Al
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      “Talking about British cars or French cars or German cars is pure nonsense – there is no such thing”

      It sounds as though you’ve never heard of Morgan, Ariel or many others. If the location a product is made is so unimportant, Geographical Indications of product origins would not be a substantial area of EU product law.

      • Steve
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        AI; “It sounds as though you’ve never heard of Morgan, Ariel”

        Morgans use a BMW engine, Aerial (Atom) uses a Honda engine.

        I have a Jaguar…..Engine is a Ford bottom end, Jaguar top end. The gearbox which is a piece of crap is german. I also have Mercedes van, the gearbox on that’s also crap.

        The fact of the matter is big business cons the consumer…..that’s where the problem lies.

        Also where and by whom something is made DOES matter, and does affect the quality. Ask yourself why aircraft wings are not made in China.

        It’s in the blood.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink


          Whilst I agree that there is no such thing as a business owned by a country ( unless its nationalised) , businesses are owned by their shareholders. The debate is normally about where they are based and pay the majority of their taxes

          Yes I agree car manufacturing is a global business

          However you do know that the whole Airbus A320 is made in Tianjin China right?

    • Fedupsoutherner
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      @Leilo. You need to consider also where the jobs are. The UK employs many in the car sector. I would rather buy a car that has been built here in the UK rather than an emissions cheating VW or German car. We were told that Jaguar Land Rover now has go publish separate data for every car including every added on extra that is available even down to having a tie bar fitted or different roof etc. Utterly bonkers.

    • NickC
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      Leilo Fraser, Most people understand the phrase “The UK made 1.9 million cars …” perfectly well to mean that the cars were made by various businesses located in the UK. Sometimes distinctions are critical, but your pedantry here is just a waste of time.

      Products are frequently labeled “Made in England” or “Made in USA” because customers regard it as important. Government statistics for GDP and productivity for example are based on the notion of UK production, and are aggregated from multiple businesses.

  6. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 5:33 am | Permalink

    Rather than comment on the past history and the whys and wherefores of the present situation I would prefer to clarify some of the basic facts which are being distorted and misrepresented by advocates of the EU.

    So here is an earlier comment about the ignorance of a BBC presenter:

    which leads back to some of those basic facts presented in February, starting with:

    “About 85% of the UK domestic market for cars is taken up by imports … ”

    Reading the new White Paper I can see how a relatively small number of companies which have developed complex transnational supply chains have been allowed to determine the customs policy which the government intends to apply to all those who export to the EU, which will then feed through from that 6% of companies and 12% of GDP to the continued EU regulation of every business in the country and 100% of GDP, and moreover justified by the 0.1% of UK GDP which crosses the land border into Ireland.

    • Nick
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Good point. One of the biggest failure of government in this Brexit process has been the willingness of ministers to take arguments at face value. If the CEO of some high-street sandwich-maker wants to saddle the UK with Brino he should be invited into No 10 to make his case in front of a panel of ministers who can tear his facile argument to pieces. Asking for hard facts, and numbers, is usually sufficient to cause trouble-makers to shut up and head back to their plush executive suite. Equally, a minister wanting to, say, keep the UK subject to EASA, or EMA, or in Erasmus, should be well and truly Star Chambered; a few questions in a polite Cabinet isn’t rigorous enough debate.

      • Stred
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Greg Clarke would be a practical sort, able to detect BS. He took a PhD in the effectiveness of incentives and the boundary condition, or something like that which is impossible to remember because it makes no sense. Theresa is a sharp cookie too, along with her person trainer, who qualified by admiring the effectiveness of the Soviet Union. The car makers and Airbus must have found it difficult to keep a straight face.

      • Tad Davison
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        That won’t happen because they don’t want it to happen. It suits their purpose to allow this pro-EU BS to continue unchallenged. Hence my earlier comment about keeping JR away from the levers of power.

        The last thing this pathetic government wants is to have someone in a position of influence who can call them out. Beats me though why anyone should ever remain loyal to such a party. I might not agree with the toadies who bend with the wind, but I can at least understand why they do it.

        The public however have no such ties, and every time the Tories are shown to be up the backsides of the EU, they do badly.


  7. Mark B
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Jeremy Clarkson did a TV programme many years ago on the UK car industry and what killed it. There were many reasons, bad management, trade unions etc. But at no time could you blame the EU, or the EEC as it was then known.

    What the Customs Union is is a tariff zone. It makes importing things more expensive, things that we do not necessarily produce ourselves.

    Tariffs are used to support inefficient industries. They are also used to maintain corporate profits. Rarely are they used to maintain a work force and keep jobs, unless that is, it is done for political reasons. E.g. French farmers.

    David Davis MP gave a fine lecture on trade and tariffs sometime ago. The inference of the lecture was that change, although not always welcome at first, always led to a positive result in the end as this created invention and progress and, in turn, to more jobs and better lifestyle.

    Thanks to change we live in a better world. Protectionism prevents this and, we would be far better off out if the EU as corporates would have to compete.

    • Ian wragg
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Mark. We made crap cars. Very nice looking but generally poorly built and unreliable.
      The same happened as with allowing millions of EU citizens into the country.
      We allowed unfettered access to Japanese cars and bikes which were always a few £ cheaper than the UK equivalent.
      Ax usual government policy was responsible for the demise of much industry.

      • libertarian
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

        Ian Wragg

        BL made SOME crap cars… The mini was a damn fine car and is still sought after. Ford made decent cars in the UK too

    • Steve
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      EU imposed emissions regs = closed foundries = imported castings.

    • NickC
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Mark B, In 1971 Rolls Royce was bankrupt. It was saved by nationalisation and the efforts of Lord Arnold Weinstein and Dr Sir Stanley Hooker. That’s what was needed for the UK car industry, not the vacuous politically inspired nationalisation of British Leyland.

      Whilst there were many factors that contributed to the near elimination of the UK owned UK car industry, being in the EEC (EU) certainly didn’t help. Sometimes protection is needed to get a business or an industry back on its feet. Now we are pitched against the subsidy that Germany enjoys through mercantilism too. A tariff wall of 10%, or even 5%, could help the UK re-establish a real home car industry.

  8. Peter
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    There was a failure to protect domestic car manufacture.

    It was not simply a question of EU membership. It was not cause and effect.

    The French mostly bought French cars and the Italians bought Italian cars. ‘Buy British’ campaigns failed. There were constant complaints about quality and resentment of the poor performance of British motor manufacturers.

    There was a large company car market but no attempts to exclude foreign cars from it – by fair means or foul. That would not happen on the continent.

    So not quite as simple as you describe but Project Fear campaigns that say Brexit will destroy our car industry are simply nonsense.

    • Steve
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

      “So not quite as simple as you describe but Project Fear campaigns that say Brexit will destroy our car industry are simply nonsense.”

      What car industry ? there isn’t really one left to destroy. So project fear are wasting their time.

      BREXIT should have been an opportunity to rid our roads of german cars and the selfish idiots who drive ’em.

      • NickC
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

        Steve, I tend to agree: I regard the fat overpriced German cars as a bit naff really.

      • David L
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        As an idiot who drives German cars let me have a brief word. For many years I have been in the habit of buying up-market German cars that are around 10 to 15 years old. They must have been looked after and have full service history, mileage unimportant. In my experience, they last for years, are a pleasure to drive and, as there is no depreciation, make more economic sense than my past habit of getting any common hatchback a couple of years old and feeling it decline as it gets a few years older. My current luxury saloon cost less than one tenth its new price and the dealer threw in a RAC Platinum Warranty as a sweetener. OK, fuel consumption is high but I don’t commute, and I walk to the shops. Driving it is akin to tasting a fine wine. When I feel like a change I shall get almost what I paid for it. As LL points out, electric cars are not a wise buy and impractical for many urban dwellers until huge spending takes place on infrastructure. I shall proudly carry on with my idiocy!

    • Puffer Fish
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      At the end of the 70’s when I bought my first car, looking at the equivalent of Which? publications, one would have had to be particularly stupid to buy a British car, say a Rover. All models were for practical purposes at the bottom of the tables. In those days, I could not care less for the origin of the car: I wanted a reasonably reliable car with reasonable performance at reasonable price, and that was not a British-made car. The situation only changed when the Japanese manufacturers set up factories in Britain. Was the EU the main contributor in this 40-year development? I have my doubts, but it is always pleasant reading history being rewritten. A la Trump?

      • NickC
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Puffer Fish, You are simply exposing your bigotry. I had a Mini, then an Allegro Estate followed by two Montego Estates spanning 30 years, apart from a company Cortina (UK made) for 2 years. The only serious problems were the first Montego’s Volkeswagen gearbox collapsed, and the Perkins diesel in the last Montego blew a head gasket at about 90,000 miles, neither B-L’s or Rover’s fault. They were great cars, economical, cheap to service, well ahead of their time and generally very reliable.

        • Anonymous
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

          My girlfriend had an Allegro and we couldn’t kill it no matter how hard we tried.

          I even managed to swap out an alternator whilst broken down outside Stockwell Motors in London – the spares were that plentiful.

          It was built like a tank but those were the days when Nissans and Fords would be driven around with rotted floor pans and the tarmac passing beneath the passenger’s soles.

          Bare tyre threads were also the norm. 1980s.

      • libertarian
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

        Puffer Fish

        Really , you obviously never owned a Datsun Cherry ( rust bucket , sloppy gearbox) Datsun Sunny ( rust bucket appalling steering) Fiat & Alpha Romeo both renowned for their rust . As for the Lancia Beta , they started to rust as you drove them off the forecourt

        Meanwhile I owned a mini and then a Ford Escort Mexico both excellent cars made in Britain

        The Ford Cortina Mark3 was the best selling car of early 70’s 1.4 million units, Escort over 1 million and between 1959 & 1997 more than 5 million minis of the various marks and types were built All built in UK

        Nope didn’t enjoy your rewriting of history

  9. jerry
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    The UK car industry was still holding its own until 1977 (based on official motor industry figures at the time), until then British car buyers were happy to “Buy British” in preference to non-UK cars [1], although non UK (especially Japanese) car manufactures were already cutting into the UK market and had been doing so since before 1972. Thus it is unlikely joining the EEC caused any direct problem, more likely causes were the slowing domestic economy, stock market issues and the following oil crises, Japanese cars especially tending to be cheaper out of the showroom and, more importantly, more economical, an open goal for then as it took time for UK, and indeed some European, car manufactures to adjust their model ranges to the need for fuel economy.

    We joined the EEC on Jan 1st 1973, (right wing) eurosceptics never talk about the fact that in the preceding 12 months UK unemployment had topped the 1m mark, all but double what it had been in 1970, nor the 1973-4 stock market crash, nor the effects of the oil crisis from late 1973 – all three had far more impact on UK jobs and purchasing/procurement than joining the EEC did.

    [1] of course such figures did not always take account of UK or German made Fords etc. but the trend until 1977 was still in favour of broadly UK marques

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      We still had bilateral limits on Japanese car imports in the seventies agreed initially to protect Japan’s car industry I understand.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      There are many things which have had far more overall impact than joining the EEC, and the same with the later creation of the EU Single Market.

      Contrary to the false notion constantly promoted by advocates for the EU both of those developments have had only a marginal economic effects when seen in the context of natural growth of the UK economy.

      That is why in the absence of any prior knowledge of the relevant dates it would be very difficult, arguably impossible, to identify when they occurred on the chart of the UK economic growth rate going back to 1956 which can be called up by clicking on “MAX” here:

      “GDP Annual Growth Rate in the United Kingdom averaged 2.46 percent from 1956 until 2018, reaching an all time high of 9.70 percent in the first quarter of 1973 and a record low of -6.10 percent in the first quarter of 2009.”

      So the 1% – 2% we have gained through the creation of the EU Single Market, a one-off gain but spread over a number of years, barely figures.

      • Sir Joe Soap
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

        It’s also worth noting that there was popular support here for joining the EEC as it was constituted, and this continued despite gigantic inflation in the mid 70s. The extra competition was seen as generally helpful to us and pushed Thatcherite policies along. Increase in travel to and from France, West Germany, Belgium were just fine.

        Adding another 20 countries, plus East Germany, to the mix and extending the power grab is the problem, not what happened in the 1970s.

        • Sir Joe Soap
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

          Then the Berlin wall came down and the penny started to drop – Nick Ridley in July 1990:

          ‘This is all a German racket designed to take over the whole of Europe.

          ‘He’ll (Kohl) soon be coming here and trying to say that this is what we should do on the banking side and this is what our taxes should be. I mean, he’ll soon be trying to take over everything . . . You don’t understand the British people if you don’t understand this point about them. They can be dared.

          They can be moved. But being bossed by a German — it would cause absolute mayhem in this country, and rightly, I think.’

          • Sir Joe Soap
            Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

            Fast forward to 2018 – Mrs May not even being bossed, but stabbing the British people in the back on Germany’s behalf!

            Nick Ridley must be looking down- “Told you so!”

      • acorn
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Letter to The Times from INET Oxford researchers.

        Sir, Boris Johnson recently asserted that the “EU is a graveyard of low growth”. This claim merits proper examination to determine, precisely, how the UK, US, Germany and France have done since 1973, the year in which the UK joined the EU. Per capita GDP of the UK economy grew by 103%, exceeding the 97% growth of the US. Within the EU, the UK edged out Germany (99%) and clobbered France (74%).

        The UK’s growth has exceeded the US while tracking it, even since the crisis of 2008. This makes it hard to argue that the EU is dragging the UK down. Alternatively, compare this to the UK’s performance during the “glory days” of the Empire from 1872 to 1914. Back then Britain’s per capita growth was only 0.9% per year, in contrast to its robust 2.1% since joining the EU.

        • Denis Cooper
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

          Well, acorn, I think the idea of the “Reply” facility is that you offer a reply which is relevant to the comment which has been posted.

          • acorn
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 5:59 am | Permalink

            Sorry “off topic” Denis.

          • Denis Cooper
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

            Same again, acorn, because while I quite often submit “off topic” comments on the original articles posted by JR I very rarely offer “off topic” replies to comments made by other readers. However I will graciously accept your apology.

        • Edward2
          Posted July 15, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

          So acorn, your figure show the USA (not in the EU) did 6% worse than the UK (in the EU) since 1973.
          Which is 45 years
          Which is 0.13% per year difference.
          What statisticians would say is insignificant.

  10. Lifelogic
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    That is quite right. I briefly worked in Essex for a UK car manufacturer (about ten years after the appalling Ted Heath deceived voters and took the country into the “Common Market” gave away our fishing waters all without any authority from the voters. Of course the car industry hugely damaged by job destroying unions and then British Leyland was nationalised in about 1975.

    If May (Ted Heath II but even worse) continues with her current idiotic route then doubtless almost everything will be nationalised (or rather stolen) very soon by a Corbyn/SNP government. So we can move to Venezuelan inflation rates of 15,657% and the whole economy will collapse.

    I see that Hammond’s idiotic double and triple taxation of Landlords (and the bank lending restrictions) are killing the supply of properties to rent, job mobility and thus pushing up rents for tenants. Was this his plan and what does he think he is achieving by it? Why is he such a plonker and why does he remain in office?

    • jerry
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

      @Lifelogic; “That is quite right. I briefly worked in Essex for a UK car manufacturer [../anti Heath & EU rant/..] Of course the car industry hugely damaged by job destroying unions and then British Leyland was nationalised in about 1975 [../TOT rant/..]. “

      Essex? So you mean 1983 and Ford then.

      Thus you will not have a single clue as to why BLMC was nationalised, that their problems started way back in 1968 when still a private company. Whilst Tony Benn must take some blame for pushing for the amalgamation of British Motor Holdings (owners of BMC) and the Leyland Motor Corporation (owners of Triumph and Rover etc.), decisions taken at accounts and board room level caused the real damage, just about every new car design between 1969 to 1975 was worse than the old model being replaced, anyone who remembers the Austin Allegro will know what I mean, or competed with another model, even those that were built on the same production lines, such as the Austin Maxi and 1800 models.

      By comparison, post 1975 BL -as it had become on nationalisation- started to turn its self around, both in design and build quality, indeed by 1979 both management and trade unions were working together to improve the company, even Derek Robinson (“Red Robbo” as the tabloids christened him) supported the management just so long as the workforce were consulted. Then came the 1980s, the gradual hiving off of the profitable sectors, and culminating in the events of 2005…

  11. Steve
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Excellent article Mr Redwood.

    Though I should point out; at that time many British cars were named after vicious animals, mythical demons, or women lacking moral standards.

    Viz; Husky, Imp, Minx etc.

    That said….you could fix them yourself.

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

      Every weekend was spent under the bonnet or the car itself. Those were the days (not.)

  12. Lifelogic
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Lots of silly Tory MPs (mainly female ones it seems) keep saying Trump is a guest of T May and is being impolite & rude to his host (did his Mother not teach him some manners and other such drivel). Well no he is a guest of the UK, the government and the Queen (not Theresa May) the tax payers are picking up the bill after all.

    Anyway it is his duty to tell May what a total idiot she is being over the EU (and much else) and how she will end up killing the Tory party for many years. Lumbering the country with Corbyn/SNP and a Venezuella economy in short order. He is right in saying we need to be able to do deals with the US without the EU being involved in the process. May’s cave in does not remotely do this. Indeed it is remaining in the EU, without a say in all but name.

    Just as I would see it as my duty to tell someone, whom I thought was making a large mistake (perhaps their investments), not to do it or how to do it more efficiently or with lower risks or tax advantages.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      In the Telegraph today, Charles Moore is quite right. A shame Theresa May seems never to listen to sensible advice.
      Another quick tip for May, do not go into an elections asking for votes with a “vote for me and I will kick you in the teeth” Manifesto.

      Donald Trump yells truth to power, no matter who he offends. It has its uses

    • Steve
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Well actually I find that having a PM and government composed of mainly traitors, liars, and self serving parasites somewhat rude also.

      And they say Donald Trump is rude? come on.

      • NickC
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        Steve, Good point.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted July 16, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink


  13. Lifelogic
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    The main thing damaging the car industry currently is government’s endless green crap and their announcing potential bans on diesel and petrol cars in cities very soon. Why buy a new car that you may not be able to use everywhere in a few years time. Also why buy a hugely limited, highly depreciating and over priced battery one when they do not really work yet and have very limited range (and do not even save energy)?

    Or when you perhaps have no where to charge it up for the hours on end of charging it needs.

    Keep running the old one seems to be the sensible thing to do. Unless you want to virtue signal or show off at great expense.

    • NickC
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      Lifelogic, Plus of course a battery – the concept sold to the gullible as a magic power source – is merely a highly combustible box of chemicals. Then if all current vehicles were electric we would need to approximately DOUBLE our electrical energy production (and no, I don’t mean double peak power, and no, leveling the peak power won’t affect the doubling of the energy requirement).

  14. George Brooks
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    This is no more than a classical example of how member states of the EU led by Germany and France have tried conquer the UK economically. If we don’t get away from them they will slaughter us and Mrs May and the ‘remainers will be entirely to blame

    • Steve
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Don’t fret; when the Franco German alliance finally does for this country there will be mass uprising, and the likes of traitor May and her cohorts will face a bloody end.

      The writing is on the wall, and anyone who thinks England will go down without a fight is wrong.

      If you go to Greece you’ll find Merkel (May’s boss) is portrayed as a nazi. I predict if we leave the EU by bloody means then somewhere like Greece would follow suit and the EU collapses, as all empires eventually do.

      Why else do you think the EU is so sh*t scared of the UK leaving. We owe Europe nothing, we should just walk away right now and let it implode.

      And as for these project fear big businesses threatening us, well frankly let them sling their hook.

    • NickC
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

      George Brooks, Indeed you are right. Whilst I have a natural inclination for free trade, I have come to realise that real free trade is only possible within a demos, within a nation. International trade could approximate free trade, but factors such as nationalism, ideologies and mercantilism hamper it so badly that it becomes war by another name. Certainly the British establishment fails to recognise this which is why we get hammered by Germany and France so much.

  15. Anonymous
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    We lost lots of different factories whilst in the EU. Not saying it caused it, just saying it didn’t stop it either.

    Manufacturers are being clear today.

    “We want you to have no border and million of the EU’s poor must have access.

  16. Dave Andrews
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Oh come on, you can’t blame the EU for the demise of the UK car industry.
    What destroyed it was lamentable management and bolshie unions, putting a wrecking ball to their own livelihoods.
    BMW, Audi, VW, Peugeot, Citroen, Renault and Fiat all still there and doing rather well it would seem, whilst in the EU, and Morris, Austin, Rover all marques of the past. Those UK marques that do remain have been sold abroad. If the problem was the EU, why didn’t it impede all these continental carmakers?
    The UK has bigger woes than Brexit and the EU.

    Reply All I am pointing out is your beloved EU did not help our car industry when we joined, yet to listen to Remain apparently the car industry cannot work without the EU!

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply. Then look at today’s situation and put together a bill of materials for a Mini made here with EU imported parts versus UK sourced parts versus globally sourced parts. I suspect the ratio would be something like 100:105:75
      Put costings on these arguments, don’t just argue from emotion.

    • Puffer Fish
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply: isn’t it a specious argument?: Did the EEC help Fiat, Peugeot, Volvo, Citroen, Renault, … ? I do not think so. The problem with Morris, Austin, Rover et al. was these cars were of inferior quality. The Land Rovers of that time might have been good in terms of mechanics, but pricey, not particular nice-looking, and could only be considered for special farming/countryside purposes. So I would think nothing surprising that people moved to Japanese or continental cars once they were widely available in the UK. Isn’t it how the market should work?

    • Puffer Fish
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Isn’t it a bit disingenuous when the author of today’s topics had been Chief of Policy for more than five years (‘82-‘87) then Minister for Corporate Affairs for almost three years (‘89-‘92)? When is he going to finally accept his responsiblities, even if only partial, in the sale-out of a non-negligible part of British industry?

      Reply During that period we attracted a lot of new investment and expanded the car industry

      • Puffer Fish
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply: OK, fair enough. How much is ‘a lot of new investment’? How does it compare to the value of the previously-British industry that left the UK for pastures new? Between 1982 and 1992 BritOil, Assoc.British Ports, Enterprise Oil, Jaguar, British Telecommunications, British Shipbuilders, British Gas, British Airways, Rolls-Royce, BAA, British Steel, the water and electricity companies were all privatised and (some) people benefitted from holding shares of these newly private companies. Now how many of these companies are nowadays still held/managed by UK boards?
        Among OECD countries, the UK is the one country that shed the biggest share of its companies (about 2/3).
        Obviously the trend initiated under the ‘80 and ‘90 Conservative governments was pursued under the Blair/Brown government.

        Now, how do you think Brexit will give us a Global Britain where services, if not strictly linked to national use/consumption, are likely to be open to international (non-EU) competition?
        I hope the board of directors of the remaining UK entities are cleverer than the politicians.

  17. agricola
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    In 1972 we were manufacturing rubbish in the car industry. The management was appalling and the workforce totally out of control. I suffered the embarrassment of conducting some of Japan’s leading component manufactures around BL at Longbridge during a week when they preferred to be on strike. My Japanese visitors thought BL a complete joke. It was, but a black joke.

    Yes before 1972 we bought UK made cars, and rubbish they were.
    Afterwards we had a choice and it was not until the Japanese decided to manufacture in the UK, plus the adoption of ISO9000 and QS9000 that cars of acceptable quality began to be manufactured in the UK. We did not need so many because they lasted longer.

    Blaming the EEC for the ills of the car and other UK industries is political nonsense and totally misleading. Much of our industry did not deserve to survive. On the plus side UK managed industry can thrive when it is done professionally. Triumph Motorcycles was re-born in 1984 and now successfully competes with Germany, Japan, Italy, and the USA in a World market place. The same can be said for our Japanese and Indian owned car industry and even more important the component industry that feeds into these successes.

    Yes the EEC/EU is a very bad concept, but the early demise of our car industry cannot be laid at it’s door. Politicians you share space with are directly responsible for the downturn in diesel vehicle manufacture of late, and it is all based on their ignorance.

    Reply The UK made 1,92 m cars in 1972 which people were proud to own. They were not rubbish

    • agricola
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      reply to reply.
      From personal experience let me assure you. The E type was directionally unstable at 120MPH. The Cortina’s shock absorbers didn’t last more than 10,000 miles. The Morris Marina was a joke and the MGB a rust bucket. The TR3 with Michelin tyres was affectionately known as strait on at T Junction. The Lotus Cortina engine was an oil dribbler. You needed to use these cars to know their weaknesses and to be in the industry to know why. God help the buyer of a Friday car.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply. Our car industry was living off past glories in 1972. Businesses set up in New York to re-wire new imported Jaguars in the 70s, because of faulty harnesses. Imported vehicles here hadn’t yet made traction because people were patriotic and were used to buying UK-made vehicles. You’re defending the indefensible to say the industry was in good shape here in 1972. The question is “what should have happened next?” and unfortunately there was a 7 year delay until a certain ex-PM arrived on the scene and started kicking things into shape.

    • NickC
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Agricola, I think the point that JR is trying to make starts from the propaganda put about by Remain that our car industry cannot survive without the EU. The figures show that the Remain case is not just wrong but inverted.

      That doesn’t mean there will be no changes. And any change, including EU imposed change, causes disruption. I believe the gains from a Leave outcome outweigh the losses, both at the trade level and at the political level.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink


      Cobblers… I owned a Datsun Sunny and a Datsun Cherry in the 70’s they were both appalling cars, rust buckets, one with a terrible gearbox and one with awful steering. Meanwhile the mini, Ford Cortina and Escort all made here all excellent cars oh and the best sellers of the 1970’s too. When will people stop equating the British Car Industry to the Morris Marina and Alegro.? Datsun ( Nissan) started off like most Japanese car makers making knock off copies of British cars

      In 1971 the Ford Motor Company manufactured Cortinas in the UK, the M111 was best selling car in UK with 1.4 million units .

      • agricola
        Posted July 15, 2018 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

        I would point out that your beloved Cortina had to be re-tracked after a 200 mile rally before it could be driven home. It was not until Ford started to provide lots of weld on strengthening plates and a different 2nd gear cog that it began to behave as required. Since those days the Ford Focus and Mondeos have been excellent. Around 1967 I was working towards being self employed. I saw one of the Citroen CXs in Boulogne and subsequently bought seven over a period of twenty years. That was my free choice after suffering the rubbish that came out of UK factories at the time. They were superb. Just my personal experience. In the mid sixties I remember driving a Mk2 Jaguar saloon that had been modified for racing, different suspension ,different brakes, a D Type engine, and above all precise steering. Jaguar certainly knew how to do it, but it did not get through to the production cars at that time. Thanks to Professor Deming, ISO9000/QS9000, and the Japanese it has now all changed for the better. Long may it remain so.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 16, 2018 at 1:50 pm | Permalink


          Retracking after rallying a car is hardly normal use is it?

          The Marcos LM 600 we raced in British GT Championship ( GT2) needed an engine rebuild, gearbox rebuild and a new set of types after each race

      • agricola
        Posted July 15, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        If the Datsun was so bad why did you buy a second one.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 15, 2018 at 6:19 pm | Permalink


          Company cars , some idiot bought a fleet of them

  18. Andy
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Your post is genuinely laugh out of loud funny. Completely removed from reality.

    The British car industry died because British cars were mostly rubbish.

    They were expensive and unreliable.

    Consumers went elsewhere.

    Now, of course, thanks to the single market Japanese manufacturers have revived it.

    Bringing with them good production techniques and desirable cars.

    Your issue would appear to be globalisation. Perhaps you should rage against it?

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Most of us agree that YOUR issue is globalisation, as you seem to want to stay within your Eurobubble, paying high import duties on raw materials to global sources to protect your German corporates. Cheers for that.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink


      WOW who knew….. Japan are members of the EU single market…. amazing

    • libertarian
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink


      Nissan became the first Japanese car company to open a factory in Europe, in 1986

      It was in Sunderland

    • libertarian
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink


      One of the many benefits of being older is that some of us were actually there at the time

      As is usual with your posts you are completely fact free and ignorant .

      In the UK in the 1970’s these were the best selling cars … all build in the UK

      Cortina, Escort , Mini, Granada …. Some of these cars are still sought after today

      I owned a mini and an Escort Mexico, two of the best cars I’ve owned and I’ve owned a lot of exotic cars over the years

      Some of the worst cars of 1970’s

      Especially for rust

      Lancia Beta
      Alpha Romeo
      Datsun Cherry
      Datsun Sunny ( worst steering I’ve ever experienced)
      VW Beetle, the metal actually rotted

      Andy as someone who thinks that a little corner of Western Europe has all the answers its you who need a better view of globalisation

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted July 15, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink


        Unnecessary posturing

        • libertarian
          Posted July 15, 2018 at 6:20 pm | Permalink


          unnecessary post adding your usual zero to the debate

    • Anonymous
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      What would you know, Andy ?

      You’re just that little bit too young to have owned and run a British car from the era of doom. I just about did and I’m ten years older than you.

      The first Japanese cars were utter rust buckets.

      • Andy
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

        Yeah – the 70s were rubbish. By far the worst decade since the war.

        Britain was a dreadful place. Broken, backward – genuinely naff

        Thank God most of us have moved on.

        • margaret howard
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

          Our car manufacturers couldn’t even produce a proper indicator. So you had to stick your arm out when you wanted to turn left or right, to the great amusement of foreign visitors.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 7:13 am | Permalink

            That was in the 1950s margaret

          • margaret howard
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

            No it wasn’t. I had to learn hand signals when I started driving lessons in the 1960’s. But it went on much longer as many of the cars around then still had no proper indicators.

          • Edward2
            Posted July 15, 2018 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

            Separate issue.
            The driving test didn’t stop testing knowledge of hand signals until the late 70s.

            I can’t think of any cars made in the sixties that didn’t have modern indicators.
            Cars made, and not just in the UK, did last for 10 or 20 years so they were still around in the 70s

  19. hans christian ivers
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink


    Interesting statistics.

    Unfortunately, we also lost a lot of our car industry due to low quality and reliability of UK produced cars at the end of the 60s and beginning of 70s.

    The sabotage by assembly workers on some cars did not help either, so as always there are two sides to this story.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      hans & others

      British Leyland were indeed a dreadful company, thats what nationalisation does for you. However a lot of us were actually around in the 1970’s and actually remember what was being built, bought and driven on British roads

      The Ford motor company UK were the leading manufacturer .The Anglia, Zephyr, Cortina, Escort and Fiestas where all very good cars in their day, made up the bulk of cars on British roads and were built in one of the half a dozen Ford factories in the UK . Vauxhall ( General Motors) was the third biggest selling brand with the Viva, Chevette, Cavalier and Astra , Datsun( Nissan) being the other big seller .

      The second biggest manufacturer was indeed BL…. They produced one of the most successful cars of all time, still sought after today… The original Mini

      The EU totally against their own rules encouraged motor manufacturers such as Ford to move their production elsewhere by offering huge financial incentives

      • hans christian ivers
        Posted July 15, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink


        I was referring to BL as I remember what nightmare my parents went through with BL cars end 60s and 70s , till we bought a Volvo

        • libertarian
          Posted July 15, 2018 at 6:26 pm | Permalink


          Then you should know better to equate ONE company as representative of the whole UK industry

          Volvo has always made excellent cars. I have 3 in my company fleet right now. The Volvo P1800 is still a gorgeous car and I’d love to own one today . Oh and the early models were built at the Jensen factory in West Bromwich

  20. DanF
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    All this talk about buying cars in 1972 is history..the world has moved on and we had better get with it..anyone who can afford to buy a merc or bmw today can also afford to pay the extra that comes with tariffs..I’m sure.

    The fact that some feel disgruntled and let down because they feel we were hard done by should look to themselves and their party leaders through the years..we were represented by MEPs at the top table and at the Council for forty years or what were our political leaders doing during that time to right the perceived..very little it seems and now you take to the diary this morning to try to heap blame on the EEC/’s all just like Mr Trump fake news!

  21. Blue and Gold
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    You of course neglect to point out that after 1972, and after joining the European Common Market , the British car industry was riddled with strikes, well into the 1980s.

    You neglected to say how BLMC was in the end competing with itself, ie Morris. Riley, Wolseley, Austin, Triumph, Rover.

    You neglected to say how British produced cars ended up as rust buckets and were unreliable mechanically.

    You neglected to say that foreign cars since the 1970s were far better built and offered good extras with their cars. ie Japanese and German built vehicles.

    You neglected to say therefore that the demise of the British car industry was not totally the fault of the EU.

    You want to blame the EU for everything that is wrong in the the UK, when in fact the EU has raised standards in health and environmental aspects of life here, including production of motor vehicles.

    • Sir Joe Soap
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Clearly we were therefore good at making cars in the early days, to have had so many companies here. Yes, we need to open our industry up to competition, but not the unfair competition which hit with cheap Japanese vehicles in the late 60s and early 70s. Remember also that our industry was state owned at that time, so management and workers alone spent longer discussing tea breaks than designing and making world beating products.

    • Steve
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Not so.

      It was the Japanese who taught us how to build reliable cars, not the EU.

      • alan jutson
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink


        Agreed, I was associated with the motor Manufacturing industry in both the 60’s, 70’s and part of the 80’s.

        • alan jutson
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

          The Government taking on the Unions’s also helped restore some balance and common-sense to industry.

      • Blue and Gold
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

        Read my comment!

        I did not imply that the EU was responsible for building reliable cars.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Blue & Gold

      The Mini, Escort, Cortina, Fiesta Cavalier etc…. All decent cars , all made here in the 1960’s 70’s 80’s

      Yes our Nationalised car industry was a joke ( thats nationalisation for you) but that was one company . Ford, Vauxhall, Chrysler, Datsun ( Nissan) all built decent cars here then

      No it wasn’t TOTALLY the fault of the EU, but mostly it was. The EU offered illegal financial incentives for some manufacturers to move operations to other parts of Europe

      • Blue and Gold
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Your usual drivel.

        The Mini, Escort, Cortina, Cavalier were all rust buckets.

        You show ignorance as regards the motor industry.

        Reply They were all very popular cars and sold in large numbers. Some continental cars had a worse reputation for rust. All cars were prone to rust over time especially on salted winter roads.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          Blue and Gold

          Your post is the normal arrogant ignorance

          The mini , Cortina and Escort sold in vast numbers and were the most popular cars at the time. Japanese & Italian cars were the main rust buckets

          Indeed Minis and Escorts are still in high demand now.

          I’ve never worked in the motor industry , but I bought a lot of cars so I’m talking as a customer. Maybe you’d let us know the source of your motor industry expertise

    • Richard1
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I have to say I somewhat agree with this. I do not think we should blame the EU for everything as eg Mr Farage has done over the years. The U.K. car industry was a socialist black hole in the 70s. The common market was a catalyst – and a justification – for Thatchers forced reforms and subsequent privatisation of the industry. We are all better off for having more choice and competition, and if the EEC’s rules assisted Thatcher in saving us from continuing to pour taxpayers money into the nationalised industries and made better quality products cheaper, then good for it. On balance I think EEC / EC membership was beneficial for the U.K. until probably the early 90s. I think history books will record Maastricht as the turning point. In retrospect John Major should have vetoed it (I didn’t think that at the time).

  22. DUNCAN
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    This is an irrelevant article. There’s only one question to be asked. Will Tory MPs be brave enough to bring down May and prevent a historic betrayal by this most offensive PM?

    Well John?

    I have always admired your stance but you have never explained why it is that you voted for May, a Europhile, as our leader?

    Why would a vehement Eurosceptic such as yourself do such a thing. Surely you must have known then that this PM would betray the British people. We all knew she would. Are we to believe that you and your colleagues are so naive that you thought she would behave in a decent and honourable manner?

    Your readers want to know one question. Are you part of the intricate plan to keep us in the EU because your actions tell me that you’ve been nobbled and that your Eurosceptic protestations are little more than a cunning deception

    Actions speak louder than words and your actions reveal your true colours. Just another politician sacrificing career, nation and democracy over principle

    Reply I did not vote for her

    • DUNCAN
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      Just another politician sacrificing principle, nation and democracy for his career

  23. Bob
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    The timing of the JLR and Airbus statements to prepare the ground for the Chequers Statement was amazing, almost as if by collusion with our Remainer govt.

  24. Original Richard
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    The European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA) published a report 19/03/2018 showing that the UK’s trade deficit in vehicles and automotive parts with the EU amounted to £25bn in 2017.

    This figure would be even worse if the UK had not retained its insurance policy of retaining the pound.

    Whatever damage the EU can do to our economy outside of the EU it is nothing compared to the damage the EU can inflict upon us when we are in the EU and subject to all their rules and regulations.

  25. Sir Joe Soap
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    It’s a question of balance between opening ourselves up to competition to improve our products and competitiveness, which the UK sorely needed in 1972, but not letting the domestic industry die because the competition is unfair.

    From memory, there were a number of unfair pricing practices way back then – raw material manufacturers and power companies used the English Channel to jack up input prices here, and we had Corbyn types on the factory gate…. which made the whole idea of using manual labour and raw materials to make something here a very bad idea, and we ended up with the Allegro and Marina as symbols of that.

    Somehow we still need to get control of this manufacturing thing. Be able to do deals worldwide to get raw materials we don’t make from e.g. China without the EU imposed 100% dumping duties (which protect German and Italian industry but wreck ours). Be able to do deals with appropriate workers to design and make things here without having to accept the unproductive dross.

  26. Denis Cooper
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    There’s a cracking article here, JR, albeit by an American observer:

    “With her Chequers Plan, Theresa May is repeating the mistakes of former Tory Prime Ministers”

    But it’s not just Theresa May, is it, because it’s also the other person facing the camera in the picture at the top of that article; and for brevity I shall henceforth refer to the two of them conjoined by the singular gender-neutral name of “Therolly”.

    • margaret howard
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      What this article forgets is that the EU is not a ‘Them and us’ situation – Britain against 27 other EU members, but a bloc of countries that decided to come together in a new global trading world. Britain begged to join this club voluntarily when the advantages became obvious and had overtaken its own efforts to join with others such as EFTA and the commonwealth. Germany backed it against de Gaulle’s repeated ‘NONs’ – a decision it must surely have come to regret.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        The point is that the primary purpose is political not economic, and successive Prime Ministers to have failed to grasp that.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      May has it within her gift to get rid of him, but instead, she relies upon him. I therefore suggest WE get rid of the pair of them.

      As for the article itself, it is indeed compelling. Very troubling though, is the thought that very few MPs are likely to read it, let alone understand it.


    • NickC
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

      Denis Cooper, An excellent link – a view from the USA so not tainted by the EU and its sycophants.

  27. DUNCAN
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    You either bring down May or you’re part of the plan to keep us in the EU. You can’t have it both ways Mr Redwood

    You can’t moan about our membership of the EU and then refuse to challenge the great betrayal being perpetrated by your leader, yes your leader, the one you voted for

    Any Tory MP who voted for May as our leader is directly responsible for the treachery we are now seeing

  28. BrexiteerwivMusket
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    Massive redundancies in car plants across the EU USA Canada is imminent. They will be built in cheaper climes
    Mass production of cars is an extremely boring job. Repetition.
    It creates psychosomatic illnesses ,injuries and slipshod work.It always has. Such things are ignored and misunderstood by managerial circles. They have never done the job. A wildcat strike is a welcome and healthy break for our well-educated workers. I’ve been there, got the mass produced tee-shirt.
    Such work is below them.

  29. ian
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    I see that a doctor has been sacked by work & pensions for speaking out about transgender because of, he wants it to stay a clinical decision.

  30. bigneil
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Back in the 70s my brother used to repair car bodywork. He would regularly have to replace chassis parts as well. In the sealed sections he cut off he would find small value English coins which could ONLY have been inserted during manufacture, when the parts were welded together. These would obviously rattle about when the vehicle was going over potholes and bumps, meaning newly bought cars would be a disappointment to the buyer and put them off buying another of the same brand. Any returned to the garage for inspection and cure could never have the fault found.

  31. margaret howard
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Nothing to do with EU membership. The unions destroyed the car industry and an inability to compete with superior European design and engineering. The same happened to white goods. Who’d buy a Hotpoint if they could get a superior Bosch or Zanussi? Or a Triumph Herald if they could afford a Mercedes? And lets not forget that it was the British consumer who bought foreign rather than inferior home grown goods.

    I have just read the posting by Blue and Gold above and he is spot on. The blame culture is yet another unpleasant Brexiteer habit.

    • Edward2
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Yet you have just blamed the unions and poor design and poor engineering for manufacturing decline.
      Then you say the blame culture is….another unpleasant…..habit.

    • alan jutson
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink


      Can I suggest you compare like with like.

      You cannot compare the German manufactured cars and household goods manufactured at that time with those uk ones you describe, as they cost more than twice the price.

      A Triumph Herald with a Mercedes, come on !!!!

      I think you will also find that now many washing machines are all made in the same factory to almost exactly the same specification, but with a different badge on the front.

      I do agree trade unions were part of the problem at the time.

  32. miami.mode
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    You complain about tariffs being removed on cars when we joined the EEC and yet you have previously said how we can reduces tariffs on many goods when out of the EU.

    As others have pointed out, UK cars in the 1970s were not of particularly good quality and if tariffs on imports had remained, and without the competition from foreign imports, we would probably be running around in the modern equivalent of a Trabant.

    • zorro
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      What nonsense! Ford and Vauxhall to name but two produced perfectly good cars in the 60s and 70s. Everything tends to British Leyland and nationalisation as the dominating factor when it wasn’t the case…..


      reply The Mini was a great car and sold a lot

      • zorro
        Posted July 15, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        Reply to reply – Absolutely and I still have one! I was referring to the state of labour relations and how they werr portrayed at the time.


    • NickC
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

      Miami.mode, I actually bought and used cars from the 1960s on. UK cars in my personal experience were good cars, even the much maligned BLMC. I started with an Austin A35, and my last, an Austin Rover Montego, expired 13 years old in 2005 when it was hit by a truck as it was parked at the roadside – lovely car.

  33. Blimp
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Crowd funding collections were completed in just three days for a giant balloon of Mayor Khan. It could but didn’t fly.Free speech has height limitations.Shhhhhh

  34. Raymond Greenwood
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I think a moderate tariff to incentivise local commerce and industry is a good thing. It helps make a state’s economy more diverse; tends to mitigate against the evils of globilisation and concentration of power in the hands of the few, and is better for security. There are costs, such as environmental pollution, of mass transport of goods around the world. Consumption is an odd god.

  35. agricola
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    It is reported that there is to be a second Chequers meeting for those who in essence find the White Paper a complete sell out and totally unacceptable. If true I hope you all destroy the contents of the White Paper and that you articulate the two options, a free trade treaty on goods and services or reversion to WTO rules.

    Retaining Mrs May as PM is not a price worth paying for her nonsense White Paper, which incidentally is only an opening gambit in the eyes of the EU, who would seek to further degrade it. Of your two options the EU will not accept free trade, not because in practical terms it is bad for them, but because in political terms they can not stomach it. This leaves the WTO option which for us is a win win situation.

    No payment of a leaving fee of £40 Billion.
    On present trade levels a bonus payment of £7 Billion PA into the treasury on duty.
    Total freedom to set up trade deals worldwide.
    A familiar form of trading, as 60% of our trade is conducted that way.
    No need for a physical Irish border. Electronics can cope with it, as they do for the 60%

    Do not let her leave Chequers in any doubt as to the consequences of her remain White Paper. She has been rumbled and the path she is on will see an end to the conservative party, because the people are being cheated.

  36. ian
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    The UK car industry closed because of the second world war and after the mass of it, no money for retooling while having to use machinery which was clapped out with a problem of new designs of cars, banks refuse to lend to private car firms which lead to the government taking them over and when Tory party join the EEC with no tariffs it collapsed altogether.

    The reason for the poor cars was because the government did not really have the money for the new car and had to use inferior metals and parts made of plastic and rubber instead of metal.

    The UK government spent its money on Berlin airlift and keeping a large standing army to protect Europe, nukes and the rebuilding of German factories and retooling them while the UK was left on food stamps to pay for it.

    The UK has a handful of very small cars firms left and we make parts under licence for other cars firms, the car made here are European and Japanese not British.

    In recent years most manufacturing has been offshored to Europe and the far east because of climate change policy of the social liberals in parliament and to keep to their plan on CO2, all manufacturing should cess by 2040 apart food & drink, to Europe & the far east.

    The social liberal policy of this will continue unabated under the new white paper on the EU.

  37. ian
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Nothing going to change much because of CO2 policy and management of the long-term decline of the UK by the socialist liberals in parliament will carry on, this the one policy no one talks about, but it been going on for year’s now, they have to sell the UK out to protect these two main policies, they are even resorting to totalitarian tactics and sacking people who speak out against them and making it so there can be no right view in politics and be outlawing all right views in the country, with even prison if you offend them.

  38. ian
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    I would serve J.C part of the labour party better than the Blair side of the labour party because of the J.C part of the party believe in a full debate of left and right views and full democracy whereas the social liberals of the labour party and the Tory party are for, it is our way or the highway, sacking or prison, and a democracy we say you can have with no freedom of speech, spet out of line and we will deal with you.

    I find John that you are supporting this all the way because of you not and not speak out about it. a sad day for democracy.

  39. Den
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    How interesting and how revealing. No wonder the German car OEMs are worried over a no deal. They should go kick Barnier and show him the reality.

  40. Anonymous
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    I would recommend going to a vintage car rally in the UK. There are plenty of the alleged horrors on display – the Rovers, the Allegros, the Moggies. Try finding an old Japanese car though.

  41. Newmania
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Yes indeed , the reason British Leyland is not a stunning success today is the European Union. I would love to own a TR7 ,or possess the gorgeous Austin Allegro …. I miss the excitement !Will it start, will the door fit, how many days before it rusts ?
    I also miss paying way over the odds in “rip off Britain ”as we protect and subsidise lame duck parasites. Super.
    There is the minor problem that the viable industry we actually have , is based in inward investment for EU bound products and cross border production …pah , who cares . We can have the 70s back with all its glitter

    Please fix it for me John Redwood

    Reply Do try to engage in sensible debate. I was making no comment on which cars were good or not so good, but pointing out that we hit a peak of car production before we joined the EEC/EU and saw a big collapse after joining. It is therefore wrong to say belonging to the EU does good for our car industry,.

    • libertarian
      Posted July 14, 2018 at 8:26 pm | Permalink


      Would you like to own an original mini , an Escort Mexico , a TR4 or a Stag, DB6 from the 1970’s?

      BL is NOT the British car industry and its problems were cause by it being a nationalised industry. Meanwhile the EU bribed Ford to move production from the UK….

      • Fedupsoutherner
        Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        Libertarian. Stag please. Always wanted one. Also Ford Capri.

        • libertarian
          Posted July 15, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

          Good choice

  42. Helen Smith
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Personally I have always bought British, currently driving a lovely 9 year old Nissan Micra.

    Always felt the best way to help manufacturing and the working class in this country was to vote Tory and buy British.

    Voting UKIP next time of course!

  43. Edward Mitchell
    Posted July 14, 2018 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

    One of Mr Tusk’s ‘red lines’ was: No special deals for carmakers. So what is at risk for the UK motor industry?
    In 2016 our annual car production was increasing: to around 1.7 million per year, with £79.5 billion turnover, of which 80% was exported. The largest manufacturers in the UK include Nissan, Jaguar Land Rover and BMW. Nissan: Japanese. JLR: Indian. Clearly they view UK-based operations as very attractive. Why? As a convenient springboard into the rest of the EU and the world. But investment has fallen since the Brexit referendum: from £1.6 billion in 2016 to £647 million in 2017.
    No deal could mean stopping production until a new certifying authority is found. The UK could face trade penalties for failing to follow ‘rules of origin’. So it’s essential that the industry retains common – or equivalent – standards.
    The SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders) is very concerned at the lack of certainty over future trading relationships with the EU. What would a hard Brexit mean for Aston Martin? It would be ‘semi-catastrophic’. It produces 3700 cars per year. 60% of its supply base is in the EU, but the UK supply chain has insufficient capacity to replace all these components.
    Without an effective form of customs union, Just in Time manufacturing, critical to vehicle mass production, is dead. Two million components arrive at Honda UK each day. This company holds just one hour’s supply of components from the EU. Increasing customs clearance time from 2 minutes to 17 minutes would cost £850,000 per year. Extra time and cost: fewer sales, less profits. So they’d be under pressure to move operations elsewhere: fewer UK jobs.
    Until the early 1970s when we joined the EU, the Commonwealth preference rules applied. This made life easy for UK motor manufacturers, despite the almost continuous strikes. Living in New Zealand at that time, I recall British Leyland setting up a Rover assembly plant in Nelson (South Island). A BL representative came out to check the quality control there and reported that it was far superior to anything he’d experienced back in the UK.
    And trading under WTO rules? A hard Brexit would cost the industry an estimated extra £2.7 billion a year on imports and £1.8 billion on exports (SMMT figures).

    Reply This reads like the car companies who told us they would withdraw from the UK if we did not join the Euro. Many just in time supply chains work fine importing items from outside the EU today!

    • Edward2
      Posted July 15, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      Why will Aston Martin’s current suppliers in Europe and elsewhere refuse to supply them once we are not EU members?
      Please explain.
      There are currently millions of components sourced from outside the EU and there is no chaos or delays so why will there be when we are not EU members?
      Please explain.
      PS I don’t understand your WTO figures because we currently have a trade deficit in vehicles which means if tariffs do eventually apply, we would collect more than we pay.

  44. ian
    Posted July 15, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    It was the USA who kept car production going in the UK with Ford, Vauxhall and Chrysler which was nothing to do with British car manufactures of Austin, Jaguar, Morris, MG, Triumph, Riley, Rover, Wolseley and a lot more were British cars who all went broke because of the banks would not lend to them, the American car companies like Ford, Chrysler and Vauxhall were alright for money from the USA and are still here today apart from Chrysler.
    Jaguar made the mark 2 with everybody saying it could not be done and went on to make the XJ6, only Jaguar and Land Rover came out of the collapse of British Leyland the rest went into history. Its only money from Japan the USA and India keeping the UK manufacture of cars afloat today.
    All parts could be made here, it only takes money with a will to do it and a loophole in the climate change agreement.

  45. ian
    Posted July 15, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Private company British call Roots took over Humber Hillman, Sunbeam, Tolbert and a couple of others and Chrysler bought out Roots but went broke leaving Ford and VAUXHALL.

  46. Graham A.B.Edwards
    Posted July 16, 2018 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    WELL all I can say is…….if you think what the car industry has “ACHIEVED”……please do not look at the STATISTICS For the FARM TRACTOR industry.
    We used to make 169,000 FARM tractors in 1969……….& EXPORT 73%……………now we assemble & manufacture just two HUNDRED [Circa]……but we assemble some in a screwdriver-type factory in BASILDON ,owned by FIAT of Italy & guess what is manufactured in UK……..the wheels !! but all the main parts are brought in to UK…….from Europe…..of course !!
    GRAHAM CEO.. of an INNOVATIVE Farm Tractor company [BRITISH] which, with INNOVATEUK`s help is moving towards OFFERING the designs to overseas MANUFACTURERS & ASSEMBLERS…………………… as to make a living from providing the designs, the services, the consultancy & the royalties

  • 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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