The collapse of traditional cars

The decision of Ford to cease engine production at Bridgend is sad, but part of their long term retreat from manufacture in the UK. Their market share has shrunk dramatically from the high levels in the 1960s and 1970s . It is also part of the story of loss of sales and big financial losses in Europe as a whole. Just like Honda they have found it difficult to stay sufficiently competitive.

The immediate background to the closures both here and in Germany is the sharp decline in the world car market over the last year. In part this is the result of monetary squeezes here and  on the continent. In part it is the result of the savage increase in VED taxes in the UK in 2017 with the limits on car loans, the increase in Chinese car sales taxes, and the rising interest rates in the USA. There is a world car downturn based on more tax and less credit.

The other big change is the sudden shift of the UK and EU governments against diesel cars and their insistence that people buy electric vehicles. The public have not warmed to these electric vehicles and the industry is still struggling to produce ones that are good value, with a big range and fast recharging. The public has held off from buying, as in many other countries told to go in the same direction. China has made faster progress with electric vehicles.

It is strange to watch the UK and other governments do this much damage to their car industry. It would be more normal to give the industry more time to develop new products with electric propulsion, and to make sure there are products people want to buy. In the meantime to avoid more closures in the UK as a matter of urgency the government should cut its tax rates on new cars, and  loosen new car  loans availability.

The UK car industry had two dominant players in 1972 when we joined the EEC/EU, BL and Ford. Both found competing with German, French and Italian product when tariffs were all taken off very difficult. They lost big chunks of market share to continental competitors. Meanwhile the Japanese came in and created great new car factories that were more efficient selling popular product, and latterly  Indian investment has successfully  expanded the Land Rover part of JLR.  These successful companies took UK and EU government advice to accentuate diesel engines, only now to find the governments have changed their minds without giving due warning.

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  1. Andy
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    Nothing to see here.

    Definitely nothing to do with Brexit.


    Except …… The car industry was doing well in 2016. Then leave won.

    Looks like Minford was right about one thing. Brexit means no car industry.

    This has been part of the Brexiteers plan for so long.

    I feel most sorry for the 1700 families who lives have been destroyed in this posh boys game.

    • Jagman84
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      Sir John’s analysis is absolutely spot on. I can say that from nearly 40 years in the sector. I could add flesh to the bones but company confidentiality does not allow. You , as per usual, are wrong in spades but with the usual hate-filled bile. What an example to set for your kids, eh?

    • Edward2
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Did you not agree with Ford’s Chairman ?
      Bridgend makes traditional vehicle engines.
      You youngster all want electric cars to save the planet.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 4:44 am | Permalink

        Well electric cars do not actually save the planet. Many people (young ones especially) just use Uber and rent a car as needed as having a car in London especially can be an expensive hassle.

    • NickC
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Andy, Our car industry did not do terribly well in the 1970s, nor in the 1980s. Was that because of Brexit? Oh, wait . . . .

      Meanwhile you are unable to tell us why our government should consist of unelected Commissioners, run from Brussels. You can’t produce a reason why, uniquely among 165 other nations of the world, the UK is unable to be independent. You cannot give a reason why our democratic Leave result should be discarded, but the Peterborough result should be accepted. You have no guarantees that the EU will continue to allow us our rights, and no method of redressing this failure when it happens. You continue to to be blind to the EU army and militia, into which your children will be conscripted. You have no answer to the sovereign and bank debts in the EU. And so on.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 4:49 am | Permalink


        “You can’t produce a reason why, uniquely among 165 other nations of the world, the UK is unable to be independent.”

        I can – the reason is we keep electing dire, lefty EUphiles (usually pretending not to be at elections) to parliament.

      • libertarian
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink


        Good post

    • Richard1
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      German car industry down also. has Germany voted to leave the EU? I didn’t notice. And the Japanese. did they join the EU and vote to leave while I wasn’t looking? Oh yes and Renault just thought it needed a defensive merger. was that because France just voted to leave the EU? you should try briefing yourself a little before posting.

      • Mitchel
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Interestingly the Germans are investing quite heavily in Russia;a state-of-the-art Mercedes Benz factory opened a couple of months back near Moscow and BMW have this week announced a new plant in Kaliningrad.

        The Chinese too-President Xi officially opened a $500m Great Wall Motors plant outside Moscow for their Haval SUV brand on his visit to Russia on Thursday.

        Even before these developments Russian auto output was up 3% in Q1.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Andy….’This has been part of the Brexiteers plan for so long.’

      Do you know, I’ve been hoping and planning that Ford would seize on something to allow them to close the plant. Me and 17.4m have plotted and cheered when Cameron finally weakened and gave us a voice, the opportunity to make thousands unemployed. I know good times, full employment, peace, freedom, workers rights, civil liberties, due visible democracy, cessation of military preparations, all being available under our glorious leader in EU. But we wanted to turn our back and encourage collapse of the UK.

      • Andy
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

        Why do you find it ridiculous?

        You and your ilk spent 40+ years blaming the EU and its predecessors for all of the things you now claim have nothing to do with Brexit.


    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Do you never learn anything?

      In 2016 around 85% of the cars sold in the UK were imported:

      “It’s strange that neither Cameron nor Osborne nor any other Remain campaigner was ever seen in a UK car plant pointing out to the attentive workers how much of the UK domestic car market is taken up by imports, mostly from the rest of the EU:

      “It’s easy to say … that 8 out of 10 cars made in the UK are exported … and gloss over the fact that imports of cars from the rest of the EU are much greater than our exports to them … and forget how much of our home market is taken up by imports … 1.72 million cars made in the UK in 2016 … 1.35 million exported … so wouldn’t that be about 0.4 million new cars both made and sold at home, out of a total of 2.7 million new cars sold in the UK … Meaning that 85% of the UK car market is taken up by imports”

    • Sam Duncan
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      A good summary, but I’m surprised at how few people are taking the following into account: Bridgend used to be Ford’s main European engine plant for its Premier Automotive Group, which, apart from Lincoln (exclusively North American, and therefore irrelevant to Bridgend), it disposed of around ten years ago. Ford has been contracting its business ever since its overproduction crisis in the early 2000s; since then it has sold off Volvo, Jaguar, Land-Rover, and Aston-Martin, and closed its Mercury division in the United States.

      Volvo, which was bought by the Chinese firm Geely, was able to relocate its production fairly quickly; it moved to China and Sweden in 2015. Jaguar Land-Rover/Tata, however, didn’t have any spare capacity and had to build it. JLR’s engine production is scheduled to move from Bridgend to its new plant at Wolverhampton – yes, new plant at Wolverhampton – next year. (These corporate divorces do take time; the Jaguar dealership at the end of my street, which started selling Volvos under the PAG, continued to do so for some years despite JLR and Volvo being owned by completely different companies. These days, incidentally, as a sign of the shifting market, it only sells Land-Rovers and Range-Rovers.)

      Given all this and Europe’s ongoing war on the internal combustion engine, the closure of Bridgend shouldn’t really come as any great surprise. Oh, and Ford itself has said it has absolutely nothing to do with Brexit. Given that it’s precisely the kind of multinational company which might be expected to scream blue murder if it were, I think that’s rather significant.

      • Sam Duncan
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

        Oh. I started this as a reply to Andy, but it got so long I changed it to a standalone comment. Your blog software seemed to have other ideas.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:06 pm | Permalink


      So you dont believe the head of Ford Europe when he said that its nothing to do with Brexit and even if we stayed in the EU they would still be closing factories in UK, Turkey and Germany

      Not sure why I’m bothering because facts never enter your thinking but heres a few things

      Vauxhall Luton closed 2002

      MG Rover Birmingham closed 2005

      Peugeot Ryton Closed 2006

      Ford Southampton closed 2013

      You really are pathetic you know

      842,000 unfilled jobs in the UK right now

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

      But that poor little 16 year-old schoolgirl told us if we don’t cut our CO2 emissions we’ll die !!! You should be celebrating the end of the car industry Andy !!

      • Andy
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

        No – she did not tell you that you will die.

        She told you that unless you and your generation take action you will kill large numbers of your grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s generations.

        And the science shows that she is right

        You seem to be remarkably comfortable with the idea of killing kids. Strange.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

          She said we (i.e. we humans) will all die due to climate change.
          She said we are all doomed and the world will come to an end.
          If you believe this at least realise what she said Andy.

          There is a UN report that said the same thing and gave 25 more years as the doomsday date.
          That report was written back in 1989.
          It also said oil would run out in 2010.

        • libertarian
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink


          Nothing odd at all if you understood the first thing about the real world

          1) Industries come and go as technology evolves ( ie buggy whip sales are well down on the 18th century)

          2) Big centralised governments make decisions that sometimes result in industries becoming uncompetitive ( cars is a good example)

          3) Being the government , as the EU has been for the last 40 years makes them responsible

          4) The voters taking a decision to do something that hasn’t yet been implemented doesn’t have an effect very much

          5) OTHER countries outside the EU can have major effects on world markets because they are NOT TRAPPED in a small customs union in Western Europe

          Youre welcome

        • APL
          Posted June 9, 2019 at 4:44 am | Permalink

          Andy: “She told you that unless you and your generation take action you will kill large numbers of your grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s generations.”

          ‘She’, what is this? The second coming of the Messiah or something.

          This claptrap is what happens when small minds abandon organised religion.

    • Dominic Johnson
      Posted June 10, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      It smacks of corbyns
      “We’ll mine coal but we won’t burn it” compromise

      We won’t drive petrol cars but we’ll build them and dump them in a field for “jobs”

  2. Andy
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    I suspect Mr Farage will not be on the radio this morning.

    He could not win in Peterborough. Peterborough!

    Leave central and he was a loser to Corbyn.

    Wasn’t someone on here saying Farage would win 600 seats or something f?

    Yeah. The serial Parliamentary loser lost Peterborough.

    People see him close up and do not like what they see. Why is that?

    • L Jones
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Andy – you paint a very odd picture of yourself – sort of maniacal, with teeth clenched and eyes bulging.
      Calm down, stop leaping around, go and read something other than Facebook, have a cup of tea. Come back later – by then you might sound rational.
      Then again……

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Main point is that the Tories got knocked back to third.

      Unbelievably Corbyn could be PM.

    • NickC
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

      Andy, People see you up close on here and do not like what they see. Why is that? Probably because you play the man, not the ball; then whinge when the compliment is returned.

      The interesting thing about Peterborough is that none of the parties did well:
      The LDs dropped to 4th so their surge petered out;
      The Brexit Party failed to win (but by a tiny margin)
      Labour lost 17% of its vote (and its win was by a tiny margin);
      The Conservatives were driven into a poor third;
      The Greens did not get their surge either;
      UKIP’s result was dismal.

      Peterborough not only voted Leave at the Referendum, but confirmed that Leave preference at the recent EU elections. What’s clear is that party voting makes it difficult to discern what people want on a single issue. Hence the need for referendums on a variety of issues.

    • Lynn Atkinson
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      So the German car industry is suffering from Brexit that’s good news …. thanks Andy.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink


      A few months ago you boasted you had joined a new party called Renew

      They had a candidate, he came 13th with 45 votes HALF the number polled by Monster Raving Loony Party

    • Richard Mortimer
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:44 pm | Permalink


      Try reading Douglas Carswell’s book ‘Rebel.’ Just finished it yesterday. Challenged a lot of my thinking….

      He talks about Nigel (Farage) always wanting centre stage, and why populist parties are not the way forward. Voting for the Brexit Party is risky, and maybe not enough people were prepared to do that.

      On the car industry:

      The EU has created this problem. First pushing diesels, then going against them (actually, if you read Carswell, you will get insights into how that works).

      Let’s not forget that Tesla came in, unexpectedly, and started mopping up! First they had a very expensive electric Lotus Elite, then, before we were ready, the model S came out. Model 3 now arriving in Europe.

      The ideal is still a hybrid, where you have the best of both worlds. Also, if we could have some advance on using natural gas (as Volvo fitted 10 years ago or so – as an option) you could have a vehicle that could be fully re-fuelled at home.

      Oh, and by the way: you cannot tow a caravan with a EV!

      • Andy
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        Why would I read that?

        I’ve read opinion pieces by Carswell before. I’ve heard him being interviewed before.

        He’s an idiot.

    • Steve
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink


      It wasn’t fair, the vote should be re – run, people have changed their minds, it was fixed, people were not told the truth, etc etc.

      • Andy
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

        The great news for the people of Peterborough is that they get to vote again at the next general election, which will be held within 3 years.

        Nobody is telling them that they never get to vote again – which is what you tell remainers.

        Incidentally if you paid attention, you’d know that I have often said I don’t want a third referendum (2016 was the 2nd one). I want Leave liars to deliver on the falsehoods they told in 2016. And I want them jailed when they can’t.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

          Presumably on the same charges they tried to get Boris on..
          That went well.

        • NickC
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

          Andy, I thought you said a couple of days ago that jailing your political opponents was like North Korea? Even your hate is unbalanced.

    • John Hatfield
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

      Andy, if you got into Word – Format – Paragraph – Spacing, you will find you can produce a more acceptable script. The content may still be rubbish bu at least it will be easier to read.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

        He likes to write that way

        for effect.

        But reading BETWEEN the lines

        is more interesting

        than the shite he writes.

    • margaret howard
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:38 pm | Permalink


      “I suspect Mr Farage will not be on the radio this morning.”

      No, indeed not. Instead he turned up in yet another cheap stunt outside Nr 10 with a letter stating his ‘Brexit Demands’!

      As one comment on the DMail has it:

      “Fresh from his triumph of not winning in Peterborough, not-elected-7-times-as-MP, Brexit Party leader tells woman who soon will not be Prime Minister that he must be involved in negotiations which are not happening.”


      • libertarian
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        Margaret Howard

        I guess you will be celebrating the German die Partei winning two MEP seats with 900,000 votes ?

        die Partei are the German equivalent of Monster Raving Loony Party

  3. Mark B
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:11 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    First let me congratulate the BREXIT Party. Although they did not win, a strong second place was impressive for such a new party.

    The closing down and relocation of our manufacturing base continues unabated. Along with the reasons our kind host has suggested may I add, high energy costs due to the Climate Change Act. High labour costs due to government interference e.g. pensions and the minimum wage. And finally due to the cost of evermore regulation.

    I wonder how many of those poor people in Scunthorpe and Bridgend will be voting Labour or Conservative at the next GE ? Judging by last night, one could reasonably argue, a lot less than you would think.

    • NickC
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Mark B, Yes the 2008 Climate Change Act has lost this country £billions, and many thousands of jobs. The attempt to “control” the climate by concentrating on one minor greenhouse gas is absurd, especially as we need more global warming and more CO2 to improve the environment.

    • Richard1
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      enough will vote labour that if people on the political right vote for farage, corbyn will get in, even with only 25% of the vote.

      • libertarian
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink


        So what? That is down to the Tory Party no longer being fit for purpose . Its a dead party and it was killed by its own detached incompetence

        Have you not learned that fear as a voting tactic no longer works

    • margaret howard
      Posted June 8, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Mark B

      I was going to suggest that you forgot to blame the weather for our disappearing manufacturing business but then saw that you DID include climate change. I suppose that’s the new word for bad weather.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        Wrong margaret.
        Mark B mentioned the Climate Change Act which affects just the UK and makes our industry less able to compete because the Act makes our energy prices higher than our competitors.

  4. oldtimer
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    I think your analysis is spot on. Whether customers will return in big numbers, even if tax rates and financing terms are eased must be moot. World trade overall, not just in cars, is weakening. Cash is tight, debt is high, new cars are an easily deferrable purchase, second hand options are available if you absolutely must replace. The politicians have dug a big hole for the car makers to fall into and they are still digging (see their zero emissions ambitions). It will all end in tears for the industry and those who depend on it.

    • Peter Wood
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

      Our host and you have stated all the symptoms, the diagnosis is that we are heading into the next recession, and it will probably be much worse than the last because of already high debt loads and low interest rates. This is the incompetence of government writ large; they tried to save everything instead of just the important bits, and now we will pay the price. Buckle-up, its going to get nasty.

    • oldtimer
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

      Mark Wallace has a timely article on Mr Hammond`s opposition to a declaration of an enactment of legislation for zero emissions by 2050 here:

      …he also comments on May`s apparent attempt to announce big spending plans in her final days as PM! I think someone needs to get out the chloroform.

  5. Lifelogic
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Well electric cars are not practical for most people and are very expensive too ( even after tax payers subsidies and no tax on the fuel). So people very sensibly keep running their old car. Why buy a new one if it might get banned from certain areas or taxed to death very soon. Even Andrea Leadsom foolishly wants to declare a ‘climate emergency’ if she is elected. Also with UBER and occasional car hire many do not bother with a car in cities especially.

    Still let us rejoice at the good news that the appalling traitor and socialist Theresa May finally resigns as Party Leader today. A shame oxide May she did not bother/dare to go to Peterborough as then Brexit would probably have won the seat.

    It is very clear from this by-election result that the only way for the Conservatives to go is to become a Real Brexit Conservative Party under Boris. Anything else will kill the party stone dead and give us Corbyn.

    The Tories, Brexit and UKIP had about 51% of the vote. Surprising how many (always have and always will voters) still voted Conservative at 21% down from 46%. Clearly these residual Tory voters had not quite grasped the fact that Brexit was the only ‘stop Labour’ vote. A Conservative vote was a wasted vote and will be in very many constituencies at the next election. The party is dead unless we get a Real Brexit Conservative Party.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:04 am | Permalink

      Toxic May not oxide (irritating auto correction).

  6. StephenJ
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    The problem seems to me to be related to the ease of manufacture of electric motors.

    These motors are made of only a few parts compared to the typical hydrocarbon fuel driven engine.

    So government has made a spurious decision based on the “climate change” nonsense and they are getting no pushback from the manufacturers who are shifting a tenth of the amount of cars, but because the premium on the electric cars is so high, the manufacturers love them.

    Which just leaves us, wondering when governments’ are going to stop knowing best all the time.

    • Ian
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

      But there isn’t yet enough material in the world to make the much needed batteries

      • Fred H
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

        Ian….that is possible but might depend on the recycle of rare earth material from ‘spent’ batteries. As I pointed out before, China has the most, Australia next, Rep of Congo next. Political spats might starve the access to current state of the art essentials.

  7. Yorkie
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    Ford and other American brands have been in trouble within the USA itself for years. Even in Republican areas the boast was from government encouraged lenders “We believe in giving people a second chance” which meant giving yet another sub-prime car loan when the customer had their previous car confiscated still leaving them in debt.
    The lenders very mercifully bought up the loan and stuck it on top of their new super-duper car loan. “We are here to help you!” ($$$$$)
    They needed a car to get to work of course just as they needed the confiscated car. The debt owed was a plus for the lender as it was legally marked down as a fully paid asset enabling the lender to borrow even more money to lend out.
    So it goes on and on and on.

    There are far too many cars on British roads and too many British people on our islands.
    It will be good if we have a trade deal with the USA enabling more British people to emigrate more easily to the USA where they will have air to breathe, space to live, and plenty of ground for more roads and houses and railways.

  8. Margaret
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    I believe BMW and Rover/Ranger are collaborating andI even think China are involved in the production of the electric car.If my memory serves me well.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      oh dear.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink


      Yes I think Jaguar still planning batteries at Hams Hall (between Birmingham and Coventry) and BMW* the electric mini in Oxford. They have also announced development collaboration. China’s Geely have Polestar and London Taxi Company in Coventry as electric effort. A fear I would have on the Birmingham-Coventry area electric cluster is the international communication effects a Chancellor can have e.g. it looked like Chinese airlines were coalescing around direct flight to Birmingham (companies and tourist attractions like Stratford nearby) but then Mr Osborne made his push for Manchester and the rest is history. The potential increase of regional trains from/to Birmingham Airport that will be enabled as others switch to HS2 may get the momentum back, but there is the ongoing uncertainty that the Government will stop/delay/scale back HS2.

      * Do we know if BMW are still considering Honda’s Swindon plant?

  9. Gary C
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    It was amusing to hear Richard O,Brian on LBC yesterday gloating about the Ford closure only to be proved wrong shortly after when ford announced it was nothing to do with Brexit.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      Richard O’Brian is absurdly pro EU, left wing and clearly not very bright as he demonstrates nearly every day at 10.00am.

      He has all the usual wrong headed BBC/Guardian think views.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      They just love to think the country is failing due to Brexit. They love the EU more than their own land and people. I can’t understand why they don’t just go and live there, we’d all be much happier with them gone. O’Brien is a know nothing lefty who glories in trying to put people down. Usual Remainer type then.

  10. Alan Jutson
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    The starting effect of the green revolution at any cost policies.

    Rest assured the knock on effect, and the law of unintended consequences means it will get worse.

    Utter madness when the combustion engine has never been as clean or efficient as it is at present.

  11. Lifelogic
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    An electric car battery is the equivalent of the circa £10o plastic petrol tank (that has a small hole in it as some charge leaks), they costs in the region of £20,000 (if you want any real range), it decays and devalues rapidly over about 5 years and charges or refills at about 4 litres of petrol per hour at best (more like one litre every two hours on some chargers).

    It also wastes a lot of energy at the power station, in transmission, voltage conversion, charging, discharging and even while standing still.

    Fine to buy one, but for most people they are not yet a sensible choice. Also you can be sure they will find some way to tax them soon to replace the fuel duty lost. For many the annual depreciation on the batteries alone (plus recycling costs) is more than the cost or running you old but more flexible car.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

      Plus the interest (or loss of investment return) on the funds used to buy these expensive and rather limited electric vehicles might be £1500 pa. This on top of their rapid depreciation. They do not, in general, even save any significant CO2 either.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      More misguided market intervention & lunacy from this government and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Banks will no longer be higher fees for unplanned overdrafts than for arranged ones. So in effect people with a good credit risks will have to subsidise those with very poor ones.

      In the main this basically means people with good credit risk will not borrow on overdraft as the rates will be totally uncompetitive. Doubtless why one major bank now charge a daily fee that is in effect about 78% APR and has no lower rates already. This even where an overdraft might well be the best product for them.

      What sort of compete and utter economic idiots do they employ at these Quango’s? A maximum charge rate for overdrafts would be a far more sensible intervention if you have to intervene. Allowing the bank to charge below this rate where appropriate.

  12. Prigger
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Trump poo-pooed the idea of electric cars at a recent rally in a car manufacturing area to cheers from many thousands of freshly employed previously unemployed car workers in the Rust Belt now making traditional cars. To more cheers he pointed out the stupidity in American landscape terms of electric car infrastructure. So not many British electric cars will be exported to the USA while they have brains which work.
    Gove thinks electric cars are a good idea. Socialism is a good idea too. But there’s a catch.

    • Prigger
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:58 am | Permalink

      Electric cars are not going to work for very long after 20 years(?) in the Chinese, Indian, Middle-Eastern, Russian, African or South American landscapes either.
      Gove should think more ahead than the next four Parliaments. He could make a very good Mr Speaker.Everyone would be able to see him always at the front of them

      • bigneil
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

        Has anyone tried the all electric vehicles with a caravan hitched on the back?

        • Lifelogic
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 3:31 am | Permalink

          Or boat or trailer,.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      The USA is one of the world’s biggest oil producers now, so they are not going to take electric very well, even if they worked satisfactorily especially at their gas prices. Had our oil still been flowing full tilt, the government wouldn’t have gone for it here either. It’s easy to virtue signal when you expect others to bear the load.

      • Mitchel
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Stated US oil reserves place it outside the world’s top 10,so it is rapidly depleting those reserves as it ramps up indigenous production.

        Regime change in top 10 producers like Venezuela and Iran might help though….perish the thought!!

    • Fred H
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Prigger….Gove thinks everything is a good idea, if he believes it will get him votes.

  13. Lifelogic
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Of the 2.36 million new cars registered in 2018 less than 50,000 ( about 2%) were plug in ones (hybrids and all electric). And many of those will hardly ever be plugged in by their owners in practice. Once again the people get it right. This despite the heavy tax bias (tax payer subsidies and endless BBC hype) these cars are not yet a sensible, cost effective or practical vehicles for most people.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      fewer than!

  14. agricola
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:10 am | Permalink

    An honest detatched assessment of a situation precipitated largely by government in anticipation of their desired alternative which does not as yet exist. At least not in a form that fulfills the needs of car users at an acceptable price. Nor I might add is there the nationally available infrastructure for fast recharging. Not to mention the question mark against our ability to generate the electricity in the first place.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

      Exactly. Government doing much harm as usual as they do in housing, health care, energy markets, employment, schools, universities …..

  15. Prigger
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    It’s about time we had more than Trump to call out Climate Change fantasists. What are the Greens going to say when we are not swimming for our lives in city centres in their “12 years time” flooded by rising sea water?
    They will say “No, what we meant was that it will START in 12 years time” That is something we can all foresee, every 12 years! It’s called “political recycling of rubbish”

    • agricola
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

      The Green Party and their tribe of fellow travellers lump climate change and the environment together quite dishonestly. The environment is man made and as such there are a vast array of actions we could take that would be of great benefit to mankind. Even were we to achieve perfection it would have little or no effect on climate. Climate is controlled by the Sun. It has been since the creation of the Earth and will continue to do so until its eventual demise. The only thing man can do is mitigate against the effects of climate change. Any Green camp follower who feels they can change climate should go Canute like and sit on Brighton beach and try changing the tide. Another natural occurance in the hands of the Sun with a little help from the Moon at times and atmospheric pressure. Trump is right to be highly sceptical of the climate change circus.

  16. Mike Stallard
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

    Cars last for ages nowadays. It is not at all uncommon round here to see fifteen year old cars on the road. The smart car for working men and women round here is a three year old German Merc or BMW. Also people are not yet hungry round here (wait for Mr Corbyn!) and there is a tiny bit of cash to spare for most of us. But buying a car is a major expense – way behind doing up the house or having that holiday of a lifetime in the Canaries.

    The Peterborough election has returned another Labour candidate… That won’t help the car industry either. I come from Peterborough and know that whatever Peterborough votes, the UK votes.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      Interestingly newer cars are usually rather more complex than old ones (in order to meet emission and other standards, consumer demands for gimmicks, lightness, crash results while still being very light) and are thus often less reliable than ones that are say 10+ years old now. They also cost far more when they do go wrong.

      Lighter cars are also usually less safe for occupants.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic….nonsense. Newer cars are less reliable than say 10+ years old? Rubbish. Repair cost is relative over time. Lighter cars are less safe? Nonsense. Safety has lots of facets, crumple zones, airbags, forward collision warning, side impact bars, passenger safety cell, even braking distance reduces roughly according to tyre tread depth.

      • graham1946
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        I am not technically qualified, but I wonder about emissions standards and how different they are from previous times. I had my car serviced recently and had the emissions checked and it passes the Ultra Low Emissions Zone standard for London (not that I would want to go there, but do have relatives in outer London, so it will be relevant soon). Anyway, my point is that it complies and is 15 years old. You don’t need a new car in order to comply.

    • graham1946
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

      A new car is the worst possible ‘investment’ except possibly caravans. What you lose driving off the forecourt could buy a decent second hand car. Or if you like contract hire, you pay forever and never own a nut or bolt, but have a nice shiny tin box on the drive to show the neighbours.

    • Steve
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Mike Stallard

      “Cars last for ages nowadays.”

      ‘some’ cars do.

      For rust buckets, go Ford.
      For camshaft failure, go BMW
      For poltergeist electrics, go Mercedes.
      For crap gearboxes, buy German.

      For Quality and endurability, Toyota or Jaguar.

  17. Dominic
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:17 am | Permalink

    The political class or should I say those in charge of domestic events have decided that environmental politics is far more important than a few scabby jobs in Wales. Listening to the fatuous concerns of a manipulated 16 year old child rather than the interests of real people in the real world is far more important to this ragtag collection of virtue-signalling, liberal left goons

    We are heading for a catastrophe and it ain’t an environmental one either

  18. Bryan Harris
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:19 am | Permalink

    Another factor, surely, is that we already have far too many cars using the roads than our roads can cope with, and not so many cars are needed.
    The Rich already have their 3 or 4 luxury cars in the garage, and the new ones are barely providing anything really innovative.
    It still surprises me how car companies bring out new models, increasing the level of technology an inch at a time, when if they delayed releasing new models and really worked on the research to give us a great leap forward each time a new model came out it would be really special – but they don’t they limit the technology so that they can regularly update models to keep people hooked into buying new / very similar cars

  19. Roy Grainger
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    The FT tells us this is because of Brexit. Just like the cuts Ford announced for Germany, Russia, and elsewhere to reduce its global workforce by 10%. Truly Brexit (despite having not happened yet) is a world-wide catastrophe.

    Anyway, as that poor little 16-year-old schoolgirl tells us that cars are contributing to the extinction of the human race in 10 years we should be celebrating this move by Ford and only lamenting they are not cutting their workforce by 100%. The Left failed to celebrate when Thatcher closed the coal mines – let’s hope they don’t miss out this time.

    • Ian
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      The lovely Mr Hammond killed car production in the UK with his socialist tax on new cars, which then killed the second hand market.

      The move by foreign manufacturer out of the UK will continue all the while the EU subsidises the removal of all types of production from the UK. That was happening before any mention of Brexit

  20. Nig
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    And build quality and warranties are such, coupled with the massive first year write downs, that who needs a new car?

    Personally neither I nor anyone in my family or neighbours have ever bought a new car. Utter waste of money and then drive it until maintenance costs outweigh its value. 150/200,000 miles.

    As an aside to the public not wanting something. I see Matt Hancock is proposing an Amazon tax to protect the high street. In other words taxing me for wanting a vast range of goods at transparently competitive prices delivered to my door rather than having to drive, pay parking, wander around a vast number of outlets that still don’t offer the range and probably queue to buy it.

    Strewth. Become a Tory Minister/PM hopeful. Only King Canute may apply!

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      An idiotic un-conservative proposal from Hancock.

      Though King Canute was demonstrating that (even though he was King) he was unable to stop the tides I think. So he was not being as daft as Hancock.

  21. Old Albion
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    This is a subject you are obviously passionate about, as you often comment on it. However, you are wasting your time when the (dis)UK gov. and the EU are setting policy based on exaggerated climate change hysteria.

  22. Alex
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    The are quite a few reasons why people don’t like elctric cars despite the coercion from ignorant politicians. They are very expensive, their batteries do not last long and are not cost effective to replace- writing off the car, they have very slow recharges so range is very limited and they sometimes burst into flames. Added to that are things we are never supposd to know like how polluting their manufacture really is and that should fossil fuel cars disappear the electricity grid would not cope with power demands from all the vehicles leaving the mass of people less mobile than at any time since the invention of petrol cars. This is the real agenda. Control us by limiting how far we can travel.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

      I think the agenda is to reduce reliance on fossil fuels, pollution, and to impact those in possession of it!

  23. Alastair Harris
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    The diesel fiasco has caused specific problems, but there has long been too much capacity in car production.

  24. Caterpillar
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    On a more positive note HS2 is continuing to produce more engineers and upskill* workers in the UK. Although human resource can itself be considered a private good (and hence some will argue left to the market), ideas/innovation have a large public good component to them and ideas/innovation are increased by skilled human resource (plus efficient funding markets). This is a basic economic argument for governments to intervene in the human resource market and HS2 is leading the way here. Obviously the government didn’t just close down existing train lines and await the new – oddly this seems to be the policy direction for cars.

    One hopes the the Government isn’t going to adopt carbon neutral by 2050 without at least some strategies, rather than wish lists, outlined. What is the role of the private sector, What is the role of the public sector, where will the spillovers occur?

    *Aside on upskilling – maths and statistics GCSEs should carry funding for adults 25 or over who wish to gain either or both qualifications. Even at these basic levels UK is behind.

  25. Caterpillar
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Interesting to see China’s announcements yesterday to revive car sales, nevertheless it did not relax controls for new traditional-fuel cars in large cities.

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      + 20 towns dedicated to making electric cars at >$30bn (I think UK govt invested one hundredth of this in batteries; China’s GDP is about 5 times that of UK).

      • Caterpillar
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        France and Germany obviously putting more into batteries than UK.

  26. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Ford’s loss of market share is saddening. They still make cheap to service, reliable cars which drive well.

    I can only conclude that their decision to cease making headline grabbing flagship cars like the Sierra and Escort Cosworth’s have hurt them. The volume of sales of these cars may have been small but the exposure was massive.

    Seeing a Focus RS without the spoiler and excessive performance is not the same.

    The Cosworth was the best car I have ever owned, providing family space with sports performance. Halcyon days

    • Fred H
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Narrow S…..really? Personally I’d claim the Opel Senator, the Audi Sport (1983), the BMW 735 all new were my best.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        @Fred – all good cars but none could do 0-60 in 3.4 seconds, handle like a racing car and stop on a sixpence while impersonating a family car.

        • Fred H
          Posted June 7, 2019 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

          You really subjected a family to that acceleration? Shame on you. My kids quickly outgrew the Audi, but it saw off a lot of quick cars when on my own. The Senator and 735 were fantastic (special in their day).

    • Steve
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Narrow Shoulders

      “They still make cheap to service, reliable cars which drive well.”

      ………and rot out very quickly.

      • Narrow Shoulders
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

        @ Steve having just traded in a 20 year old Ford for a 15 year old one I would dispute that.

        • Steve
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          @Narrow Shoulders

          Perhaps your 15 yo Ford was Zeibarted or similar by a previous owner, or never went out in the rain.

          My other Jaguar is 51 years old & 176,000 miles, and has no rust. Contrast that to my 2003 S type which has rotten tie rods front and rear, and a rotten rear sub frame – it has only 72,000 on the clock. Guess what……all Ford parts.

  27. Sakara Gold
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    People interested in buying an EV look at the current, existing re-charging network – and walk away, being converned over vehicle range.

    Government is promoting EV’s, but has failed to install the neccesary charging infrastructure first. Constant bickering between the Department of Transport, the Department of the Environment and the Department of Energy over who pays has resulted in delays and even cancellation of projects.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      The cost, limited range, very slow charging, high cost, battery and car depreciation mean they rarely make any sense. Other than perhaps as a second city car.

      • Sakara Gold
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        Where I live there are a number of Tesla EV’s parked in peoples drives. One can charge them at the local Sainsbury’s and off one’s rooftop solar panels. One of my neigbours told me he obtained a 15% discount on the price by paying cash up front with an extended warranty thrown in; also a free “supercharger” He regards his Tesla as a “classic car” – its an investment.

        Nothing exercises you more on this blog than someone talking about global warming, climate change and “greencrap”. I take it you have large investments in BP, Royal Dutch Shell and German coal mines? Go for a walk one day along Oxford Street and check the smog out, or Hyde Park Corner

        • Edward2
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

          London buses and taxis mainly to blame.

  28. J Bush
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    How many miles can I drive on one charge? How much will a charge cost? Will there be the usual double tax on it? Is there a charge deterioration, if the car is not in use, if so, by how much? If I travel from north Cumbria to visit my brother out in the sticks in Snowdonia. Can I get there on one charge? What happens if my charge is running down, where do a get a recharge once off the motorway? How many of these local service stations will have a recharging point? How long will it take to recharge? What happens if the little local service station closes before the charge has been completed? What happens if the first service station is already closed. At present I have a jerry can in the boot, in the event there are diversions adding to the mileage, what alternative back-up is there for these electric cars? How much extra would a simple journey visiting family will it cost me in time and money?

    This is what drivers need to know and until this sort of information is readily available, tested and proven, very few people will be interested.

    What happened to the Right to Self Determination? What is it with this overwhelming urge to dictate and control the populous, when the ones dictating, are clueless of life outside their Westminster bubble?

    This is why the current system, as the US President has said, needs to be drained.

  29. Walt
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Quite so. An example is a working day starting in Devon and travelling to meetings in Wiltshire. Total return distance c. 240 to 250 miles. It’s raining. My diesel-engined car, bought new some years ago with the encouragement of HMG, will do the job in comfort with no need to re-fuel during the day. An electric car will not and, even if suitable recharging points were available, which they are not, using them implies trailing cables in the rain and wasting time waiting for enough charge to continue. HMG now penalises me for owning what they previously encouraged, but their preferred alternative is unrealistic. So I have not bought a new car. And we wonder why manufacturers of cars and engines are closing…

    • bigneil
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

      ” waiting for enough charge to continue ” – What happens if the chargers are all in use – and all taking a couple of hours to get enough to move on again ? Do you risk it and try to get to the next “refuel/charge point”? or do you stay and wait for a charger to become free? Filling with petrol/diesel takes a couple of minutes once the nozzle is in the tank – when the plug is connected to the car – does it lock in place, when only you can uncouple it? – or does the car owner have to wait there? If you leave it – could someone pull up at the side of you – remove the plug and then connect it to their vehicle – leaving you with a still flat battery – or if they plugged it back into yours – does it their charge go onto YOUR bill?

  30. formula57
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Ford is closing five plants in North America, Daimler wishes to reduce its costs by c.£2 billion, Nissan relocates its Infiniti brand HQ back to Japan (from Hong Kong), FCL tried to save itself by merging with Renault, there is indeed much change going on. Who would have thought Brexit would be so influential!

    Whether electric battery power will be the dominant replacement technology is less than clear. There is reportedly an acute shortage of lithium such that if VAG made all its current volume of cars with lithium batteries, that company alone would consume all the supply.

    • Stred
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Chromium is necessary and in even shorter supply. The Congo has most of it.

  31. Richard1
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    So the Peterborough by-election shows one thing: vote farage get Corbyn. Anyone who doesn’t want Venezuela in the north (& either in the EU or bound into the CU, single market etc) should reflect on that. Labour won with a terrible candidate and a pathetic vote.

    • Dave Andrews
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      After the EU election result, one might have thought labour would hold back from pushing for a general election. Not now.
      Just goes to show that a large section of the electorate don’t give a fig about Brexit, who are more concerned with other things (eg knife crime).
      It’s only the media, politicians and websites like this that make a fuss about it. It hasn’t split the country, only those with strong views about leave or remain, and they aren’t that numerous.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      Uh ? It shows that the Conservatives, in third place, split the Brexit vote and need to get out of the way in time for the next election – Rory Stewart as leader should do the trick.

      I see Tory Remainer MPs are now openlybbacking Boris (as Matthew Paris suggested) because they think he’ll cave on holding a second referendum. Possible.

      • Ian
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

        Boris like his family has always been a dedicated remainer. With this parliament and with this government our hopes of freedom have been stifled.

        Parliament fought the People and Parliament won

    • Caterpillar
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink


      TBP was second. It showed vote Conservative get Corbyn.

    • John B
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      If the Torres were really conservatives, we wouldn’t need to vote Brexit – but they’re not, so we will. See the very depressing analysis of the Tory Party and nearly all its MPs by Fraser Nelson in the Telegraph today. I and many, many other conservatively inclined voters (low tax, small government, no Nanny state virtue signalling climate change fanatics etc) don’t have anyone else to vote for. Even if Brexit gets sorted out, there is still the problem that the Tory party does not represent a huge swathe of its natural supporters.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

        Also if the Tories were not daft, red tape spewing, interventionists, tax to death, borrow and waste, greencrap pushing pro EU socialists in the main. With leaders at nos 10 & 11 who believe (or just choose to lie that) they are reducing government debt.

    • Iain Moore
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      As the Tories came third its a case of vote Tory get Corbyn.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Well, in case you missed this bit on Sky News early this morning here are the wise, albeit somewhat disjointed, words of Wayne Fitzgerald, Chairman of Peterborough Conservatives:

      “The Conservatives must deselect every MP that will not accept a WTO Brexit if it comes to that. And that’s what needs to happen. Then the country will back the party because they know full well that who they’re electing is already going to carry out the will of the people.”

      There could be some debate about whether the first on the list should be Theresa May herself, or Philip Hammond, and personally I would go further and demand a signed pledge from every person who aspires to become a Tory candidate.

      That could be one of a number of indispensable criteria laid down by the new party leader and Prime Minister, and a public commitment to do that should be required from the Tory MP who is chosen to succeed Theresa May.

      The likes of Philip Hammond and Dominic Grieve have to be faced down if the Tory party is to have any realistic prospect of even surviving, and if those whose primary loyalty is to the EU end up following Anna Soubry out of the Tory party – and then out of politics – then so be it, that will be a good thing.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:50 pm | Permalink

        It has been a great joy to see Anna Soubry get her comeuppance.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Just as easily – vote Tory get Corbyn.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:56 am | Permalink


      Doesn’t show anything of the sort

      It shows that if the UKIP mob hadn’t run TBP would have won, If the anti Brexit SDP , EDL etc hadn’t run TBP would have won , if 10% of the Tory vote had changed TPB would have won. So the real message is vote Tory get Corbyn

      • NickC
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

        Libertarian, Doesn’t show anything of the sort. If the UKIP “mob” hadn’t run, TBP might have had another 400 votes, provided those voters directly transferred their vote (and that’s not guaranteed). But TBP would still not have won, because Labour’s majority was 683.

    • Bryan Harris
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      …and to think I almost moved there….I’m not convinced that voter fraud doesn’t play a part in labour’s wins, but I am convinced that labour has benefitted from the surge in immigrants – No wonder they want to open the borders – Not that May is doing her job on this score.
      There are clearly not enough right of centre votes to go around, and either the Tories or UKIP will need to concede in future contests…. But the fact that there are so many left of centre parties is down to the 2 party system and the Tories inability to support a twin party

    • Chris
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Vote Conservative, get Corbyn, actually R1.

    • Mark B
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

      No. Vote Tory get Labour. You came third.

  32. Ian wragg
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    This whole environmental nonesense will ultimately bankrupt the country.
    Yesterday May talking about legislation to make us carbon free by 2050. Even Hammond was horrified.
    Deliberately destroying our car industry whilst the rest of the world expands theirs.
    Congratulations to the Brexit Party almost snatching the seat in Peterborough and putting the Tories third.
    When are your colleagues going to waken up.

    • Chris
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Boris has apparently embraced it (carbon free by 2050 etc) wholeheartedly, Ian W.

  33. Anonymous
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I’m sure Brexit *uncertainty* had a part to play too – *uncertainty* being the operative here.

    Defy the referendum openly or get us out. But stop lying to us.

    Peterborough. Who can now deny that failure to deliver Brexit is hitting the Tories hardest ? I don’t want the Brexit Party running the country either but I am NOT voting Tory in its present state.

    Reply Honda pulled out of all EU places and Ford is sacking more people in Germany than the UK.

  34. Paul Cohen
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    As usual JR hits the spot – this is just common sense!

    Is there no one in governmental strategic planning capable of coming up with this on their own? Apparently not.

    Would like to see an official response to the post.

  35. Fred H
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Perhaps the new car bubble is being burst by the factors you mention. It has always seemed odd that the obsession with having a new car so regularly is such a must-have feature of the British. For 10 years at least most manufacturers have produced cars for sale in Britain that are very reliable, fairly economic to run and are lasting many years even with high mileage. Driving is not the pleasure it became a few decades ago, the inability to keep congestion in towns and motorways under control with ever changing construction and signage is at odds with the pleasure of that new car.

  36. Mike Wilson
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    You seem obsessed with cheap credit and endless consumption. We all need to look after our cars and keep them much longer. And use them less. This purchase of a new car every two or three years using cheap credit is environmental lunacy.

    Buy a new car and keep it for 10 years. Put the money you save into your pension.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      Don’t forget Mike that all those 2 or 3 year old cars get bought by others who sell their 6 or 7 year old cars to others who sell their 9 or 10 year old cars.
      It is a virtuous hierarchy of ownership.
      You seem to think I will leave my 2 or 3 year old car abandoned by the side of the road.

      • ian wragg
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        My colleague brags that he never buys a new car like me. I explained that if I didn’t buy new, there would be no secondhand. He actually bought my 3 year old Civic and now he wants this one.

      • Anonymous
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

        I don’t work like that.

        I buy a car that is a good deal and run it until a repair costs more than its value. I sell it on as a dooer upper.

        I have run a car for 14 years this way. Several for 12.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      It’s also personal lunacy.

    • libertarian
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      Mike Wilson

      Really poor financial advice . New cars have normally more efficiency, conform to the ever increasing regulations and of course a large majority of people dont buy new cars, they lease them

      • Fred H
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        so the Finance companies make more than the manufacturer….great!

        • libertarian
          Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

          Fred H

          Well mostly the manufacturers ARE the finance company

          For a while General Motors was the worlds biggest bank

  37. David Maples
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Politicians have too much faith in the ability of science and technology, to produce suitably green vehicles. It is a huge gulf to bridge, to go from internal combustion/diesel, to electric or hydrogen. The stupidity of governments in genuflecting to middle class social media and the green lobby, will be at the cost of industrial production in the West. The Chinese will be the main beneficiaries.

  38. brianR
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    Don’t think people should borrow to buy new cars, we have enough collective debt in the country as it is, better to fix up the cars we have so they can be safely driven. On another note we have far too many cars on the roads and should try harder to reduce

    • Dennis
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      ‘we have far too many cars on the roads and should try harder to reduce’

      I wonder if that is ‘cos there are too many people?

  39. Iain Moore
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    I am surprised that other car makes in the UK haven’t done more to divest the public of the idea that Ford is a ‘British’ car maker .

  40. Paul Clark
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink


    It is good to read a sensible article on the reasons that the UK car industry is in decline. As some one who lives in the countryside and does many miles travelling to work it’s multiple none city centre sites. The electric car has not yet gained the required abilities for me, perhaps a little more on self charging whilst running would help,

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      Paul Clark

      “perhaps a little more on self-charging whilst running would help,”

      “Self-charging” is not an idea the electrical utilities/car manufacturing industries wish to perpetuate…it can’t be easily monetized, so no motivation for them!

  41. Everhopeful
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Well… we have watched the UK and other govts do huge harm to their political parties. their country and their economy in so many ways. is strange but they don’t stop.. so it must be the agenda.

  42. nhsgp
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    13,000 bn pounds of state debt.

    So green taxes, a cover for the real reason

    Cuts to services.
    Defaults on the debts – ie. cuts to pensions costing the public 10s, 100s of thousands of pounds
    Changes to pensions to force people to pay tax now.

    And its still not working and still hidden from the public as to the extent of the government’s debt pile

    • ian wragg
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      £ billions of unlimited bungs for the EU, priorities my dear boy, priorities……

    • Lifelogic
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

      Spot on.

  43. Ian
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    A very good summation of the state of the Auto Industry.

    As usual the UK Parliament is behind the wrong curve and playing to the MeToo brigade. For the UK’s Government to reach its target of electric vehicle aspirations, the UK would need to consume twice the ‘whole worlds’ production of cobalt between now and 2050.
    An impossible target that is lacking in creditability

    It’s the same with the vanity project of HS2, old redundant technology with limited life span being applied just to show you are ‘with it’

    Successive governments have shown how they can waste our money on feeding their personal egos. The only criteria appear to be as long as we have access to people’s wallets lets do it we wont be around to get the blame.

  44. Newmania
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Investment in UK motor has collapsed since 2016 . Ford warned Brexit would be in their wordS ” catastrophic. Like Honda they are unwilling to involve their brand in politics but the suggestion this and Honda and Airbus are not Brexit related is absurd.
    The Motor industry is changing,we are watching a great switch to electric cars and at such a time massive investment is required. For a business friendly country it is an opportunity, for stupid stupid Brexit Britain it is calamity and yet another region is devastated today.
    We are supposed to be polite aren`t we ? I don`t find it easy.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      Ford are sacking more people in Germany. Honda pulled out of the whole EU. (John Redwood today.)

    • NickC
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

      Newmania, That the UK is not out of the EU is due to stupid stupid Remain. We should join the majority of nations in the world which are independent of the EU. And then we can set our own trade policy to suit ourselves. For the corrupt EU is in crisis due to their stupid stupid hostility to Brexit.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Newmania…..we are watching a great switch to electric cars. Huh?
      Where?, How many, who makes? I really must get out more from my cave in the wilderness, I’m missing it all.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      From an article published on this blog on February 19th 2019:

      “Honda VP Europe confirms “This is not a Brexit related issue””

      “I am deleting contributions to the site that wrongly ascribe the planned closure of Honda Swindon to Brexit given the very clear statements made by Honda that is about other matters.”

      It’s a pity that the same kind of rule is not being applied today.

      “The later morning news broadcasts had two connected items, even of course though no attempt was made to highlight the connection:

      1. 3,500 jobs to be lost from the Honda plant in Swindon when it is closed in 2021, plus perhaps three times as many jobs in the supply chain to be put at risk.

      2. There are now 32.6 million people in work in the UK, with unemployment having fallen by 14,000 over the last quarter of 2018.

      So we are talking about roughly 0.01% of the UK workforce having to seek new jobs when the plant closes, and we are talking about UK unemployment falling over three months by about the same number as all the jobs potentially at risk from that closure.

      Of course the problem is that while these job losses may be small in number compared to the high overall “churn” in the UK jobs market, maybe coming to about the same number of jobs lost as the number of new jobs created across the UK on an average day:

      the losses will mainly be concentrated in a small part of the country and so there will need to be geographically concentrated efforts to provide alternatives.”

      However that did not amount to the “region” being “devastated”, and nor will the smaller number of jobs lost at Bridgend have that effect.

    • agricola
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

      Airbus is not affected even if we end up on WTO rules and no deal. As I understand it aviation components are free of duty. Our production of wings is down to how many airlines buy Airbus as opposed to Boeing.

      Car production in the UK has been directly affected by precipitate and ill advised UK government action. The self same idiots who encouraged the purchase of diesel cars then decided to discourage their purchase. No reference to technology advances of course. Too difficult for a politician to understand. Were I running a car company I would consider moving it to where they did understand.

    • Steve
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:02 pm | Permalink


      Brexit has nothing to do with Ford’s decision to close Bridgend.

    • Roy Grainger
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

      So why did Ford announce more job losses in Germany than UK ?

  45. Everhopeful
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Looks like non delivery of Brexit will deliver Corbyn.
    Will the Tory leadership listen after last night?
    Corbyn = Goodbye everything.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      7th of June today.
      Is May going??

    • Mark B
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      No. Vote Tory get Labour. You came third.

      • Everhopeful
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Oh did I??
        And where did you come?

  46. A.Sedgwick
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    After Corbyn’s and Khan behaviour against President Trump the Ford Motor Company could be reluctant to keep any manufacturing in the UK when Labour/SNP take power.

  47. jerry
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    “The other big change is the sudden shift of the Uk and EU governments against diesel cars and their insistence that people buy electric vehicles.”

    There has been no shift in either, just an adjustment in taxation for diesel engined cars and an expressed wish to move towards electric cars.

    Might I suggest that it is the state of the wider (world) economy that is effecting cars sales, with the vast improvement in design and quality most cars are now good for at least 150,000 miles, not so long ago that figure was below 100,000. Changing ones car has become more about a fashon statement than a mechanical vs. monitory equation – thus when money is tight most people cut back on luxuries and the highly discretionary expenditure first.

    “It is strange to watch the UK and other governments do this much damage to their car industry.”

    Cough, many people said that in the 1980s too…

    “It would be more normal to give the industry more time to develop new products with electric propulsion, “

    There has been no switch yet, the date aimed at is at least 2030. plenty of time for R&D, at least for town cars (which could use smaller batteries, but need more frequent charging). But nothing will happen unless govt implements the necessary nationwide infrastructure, and those charging point needs to be secure for both supplier and customer – technology done not yet exist.

    • jerry
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      “The UK car industry had two dominant players in 1972 when we joined the EEC/EU, BL and Ford.”

      BL did not exist until 1975…! I assume you mean BLMC, still then a privately owned company.

      There were two other major UK players, the Roots group (by then owned by Chrysler) & Vauxhall (owned by GM since the 1920s), both the Hillman Avenger and Vauxhall Viva were popular with corporate fleet buyers, whilst Govt. used both for light commercial – the Commer and Vauxall vans being used by GPO Telephones for example – when they did not buy BLMC or Ford.

      “[they] found competing with German, French and Italian product when tariffs were all taken off very difficult. They lost big chunks of market share to continental competitors.”

      Whilst all the UK players found competing with the likes of Datsun & Toyota difficult, in the years before 1973, soon to be joined by Honda, Mazda and Mitsubishi.

      “Indian investment has successfully expanded the Land Rover part of JLR.”

      By comparison French govt support helped to expand Renault into one of the leading brands…

      The problem for the UK car industry was not the EEC, it was R&D plus labour relations, the latter by 1973 not helped by Heath’s dexterous labour relations polices that did noting but pour petrol on to red hot metal.

      As for diesels, most makes, most models, of cars have both petrol and diesel engined versions so why keep insisting that the slowdown in car sales is due to changed polices with regards diesel taxation is beyond me, surely people will just buy the petrol engined models instead?

      • Edward2
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

        You are wrong about sales of diesel cars.
        They are well down recently, but I realise you like to take the contrary view.

        • jerry
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 5:43 am | Permalink

          @Edward2; Oh for Christi sake! Did you actually bother to read my last paragraph, did you actually bother to read our hosts article, he was not just talking about diesel engined car.

          • Edward2
            Posted June 8, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

            Calm Jerry

  48. Dan Rushworth
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Ford, like many other manufacturers, have not been on top of their innovation and design. Both in their products and business model. Being agile enough to dance to the changing tunes is what keeps the winners at the top. Government policy changes have been too drastic overall, not just for the car market. However, the car makers knew about emission demands over 30 years ago. Ford only like to spend the bare minimum to sell a car. You can’t do it forever.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Ford and all other major car makers have invested heavily world wide and spent many hundreds of millions just trying to keep up with new legislation on emissions brought in by government.
      We are on Euro Six engine emission regs in just a decade or so, with further challenging regs to come soon.
      Each new revision means a redesign.

      They were told by government to go all out for diesel, then it is a reversal of that policy.
      Now they are told no more petrol or diesel engines in the future.

      Politicians who are not engineers nor scientists, are messing about with the automotive industry.
      My view is Bridgend is just the start of a huge loss of jobs in the European automotive industry.

      • Jagman84
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        The big dilemma for the manufacturers is that the mandation of EV has caused the writing-off of £billions of investment in plant that will not be able to be re-used in EV production. In the case of JLR, that amounted to £3.1bn. It’s not a case of putting batteries and a couple of electric motors in a current bodyshell. The iPace was a total redesign and future models will need to evolve as well.

      • NickC
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Edward2, That’s exactly right.

      • jerry
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

        @Edward2; R&D is continuous, whilst industry wide trade representation is almost always involved in negotiations with regards upcoming legislation, so your point is utterly irrelevant.

        • Edward2
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 9:41 am | Permalink

          Wrong Jerry.
          Billions of R and D and investments in plant and equipment by just JLR has been written off recently due to sudden changes of policy by governments demonising diesel engines vehicles and wanting the industry to go back to favouring petrol engines.
          Then we now have the recent policy of banning all engines in the future.
          There is some trade representation on some government committees but advice is often ignored about the technical difficulties and implications for the costs involved.
          If only they would listen to the automotive industry.
          But politicians have their own agenda.

        • David Price
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          R&D is not homogenous, fungible nor continuous. R&D is focused on specific areas and prioritised to reflect real or potential demand and regulatory changes. Most manufacturers are involved in international standards development and so can see things coming.

          However, the governments decided politically that diesel was no longer acceptable in any form despite that being their favourite flavour beforehand. No warning. Very few manufacturers were looking at EV products before then, now all have been forced to. That means R&D investment has been wasted and new programmes must be introduced involving skill sets, technologies and materials they did not have previously.

          • jerry
            Posted June 9, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

            @Edward2; What the whole world has stopped using diesel engines, pull the other one Eddie!

            @David Price; Nonsense, I have worked very closely with motor industry R&D in the past, I know many who work in the field, in fact there is a local company to me that exists solely to R&D engine technology, and have been doing so constantly for decades.

            Also why this fixation on diesel engines, OK so diesel engines turn out to be (allegedly) worse than petrol, so just revert back to LE petrol engines, the technology and engines being already extant. EV is an emerging technology, just like hybrid vehicles are, there will be a lead time in such R&D, that is why govts announce future goals, the time line often being flexible.

            No one has ‘pulled the plug’ (no pun intended) on the Motor Industry, other than the state of the wider economy, new car purchases are still very much discretionary decisions (be it an outright or some form of Lease/Hire purchase), the health of the market reflects the health of the wider economy, always has, always will. When cash is tight people carry on running their old car.

  49. Mike Wilson
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Just to make certain of the impending end of the Tory Party, Boris will not be allowed by MPs to be on the final ballot. Members will be given a choice between two Remainers. It seems MPs will be too thick to learn the lesson of recent history.

  50. ChrisS
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    The increase in VED is one factor but the move to acquiring cars on personal contracts of one sort or another has let to a huge increase in retail prices while all pricing in advertising is now done shown as a cost per month.

    As a result, customers who want to actually buy their new car have no idea what the real price actually is. When looking around since Christmas for a new car, I tried many models, including the Jaguar iPace electric vehicle.

    I ended up buying a diesel Audi at 42.8% discount.

    Not sure how much of that was because Audi are so desperate to sell cars or that the RRP is so exaggerated to make PCP contract customers think they have a tremendous bargain !

  51. libertarian
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    This Conservative Government has tried to tax industries and businesses out of existence


    Steel ,

    Digital ,



    Terminal twerps Hancock & Hammond now wants to tax digital companies “to save the hight st” To save the High St for what? It was the government who killed the High st. As retail shops close they could be occupied by other businesses BUT government policy is to vastly increase business rates, close car parks and charge people for driving to town centres .

    Office Space at the smaller end of the market is in massive short supply in the South East, yet retaining “shops” as high rent, high rates retail space is the failure to regenerate the High St.

    I own a digital business in a High St location, I wanted to acquire the shop next door to expand my business, nope can’t do that its retail only ( its now in its 3rd year of being empty) If a digital tax happens , the 150 people that work in my High St premises will be relocated overseas. The building will become empty and the High St coffee , sandwich shops, hairdressers , restaurants and bars will lose 150 daily customers

    Politicians truly are the problem and not the solution

  52. Shieldsman
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Both the Car manufacturer and the Car buyer are confused by the ECO policies of Western Governments. We have a long way to go before the Public at large want to buy battery cars, cost and range are the major consideration for the family car owner.

    Battery materials may never with size limitations have the desired range. The development of the battery may have reached its zenith in wattage per cubic metre.
    The infrastructure for recharging will be costly and difficult to install for on street parking.

    Diesel was pushed for its lower carbon dioxide output but its dirty particulate emissions were ignored by the politicians.

    • NigelE
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      I’m reminded of a cartoon I saw in a Canadian newspaper back at the start of the eco-car frenzy.

      Two potential buyers are viewing a stylish electric car through a showroom window. One looks at the price (set in very large print) and says, “Hey, that’s an excellent price!” Underneath the price, in small print it says, “Batteries not included”.

      Somehow this encapsulates for me the ongoing limitations of electric vehicles.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 6:23 pm | Permalink


    • Stred
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      Particulates were reduced greatly from 2005. The NO2 has also been reduced and has not increased. It could be eliminated using the adblue system. But government is following UN and EU directions to move to electric vehicles. It won’t work and the engineering has not been understood by civil servants and politicians. After they have eliminated combustion engines the difference in health will not be measurable and there cannot be a reduction in CO2 until the UK builds about 10 very big nuclear power stations. At the moment we can’t even build one in time.

  53. Turboterrier
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Sir John.

    Your last paragraph sums it all up in a nutshell.

    It is not strange it borders on gross incompetence and
    misconduct which in the real world would have resulted in P45s being handed out. To invest in the future you have to sell your existing products at a profit and keep your skilled workforce together with some faith in the company and their future.

  54. margaret howard
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink


    Our car industry collapsed because we made rubbish cars.

    • L Jones
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Know a lot about cars then, do you, Ms Howard?

    • Jagman84
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      If you are referring to the 1970’s then I would tend to agree. However, if you could refrain from hating the UK for a few minutes, you could educate yourself about the current state of play in the UK automotive industry.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

      That is a very silly statement Margaret.
      The car industry today employs hundreds of thousands of people.
      It invests hundreds of millions if pounds per year.
      It pays hundreds if millions of pounds in taxes every year.
      Brands like Rolls Royce, McLaren, Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover, Range Rover, Nissan, Toyota, Morgan and others make here in the UK some of world’s best cars.
      Why are you so negative?

      • margaret howard
        Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

        Silly, Edward2?

        Nearly all owned by foreigners and no doubt all their profits go there as well.

        We just assemble them.

        They will only stay here for as long as it suits them. Many warned about this Brexit disaster but foolish people still believed they were bluffing.

        EXIT BREXIT!

        • Edward2
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          Another very silly post from you Margaret, showing you have little knowledge of economics nor the automotive industry.

          I think it is very odd that one part of you wants the UK to remain in the EU which supports globalisation, but when it comes to UK industry you are an isolationist wanting only UK owned companies allowed, for example, to make vehicles in the UK.
          Try doing that under EU treaty law and see where that gets you.

        • NickC
          Posted June 8, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

          Silly Margaret Howard, Nearly all owned by foreigners whilst we were in the EU.

    • Dennis Zoff
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

      margaret howard

      Again you need a history lesson….phew!

    • Fred H
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 9:08 pm | Permalink

      Margaret had a rubbish car in the 60s….so did lots of us ( by comparison with today). She has never got over it.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 8, 2019 at 12:02 am | Permalink

      Yeah. Datsun were great.

  55. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    “It is strange to watch the UK and other governments do this much damage to their car industry.”

    But it is even stranger to watch a Tory Prime Minister do so much damage to our national democratic system, and in particular to her own political party, for the sake of placating the residual UK car manufacturing industry and the other narrow sectional economic interests represented by the CBI and similar business lobby groups.

  56. Dennis Zoff
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    “In the meantime to avoid more closures in the UK as a matter of urgency the government should cut its tax rates on new cars, and loosen new car loans availability.”

    Sensible idea…..but will action be taken?

    ….the current and past Governments are not/were not professional, competent or indeed interested in the UK Economy or people’s daily lives….I would like to be proven wrong? “The catalogue of poor Governmental decisions is significant!”

    How can UK Governments get it so wrong time and time again…who are the vested interest groups…what do Politicians personally gain from these appalling decisions that can sometimes cause hardship/detriment to voters lives?

  57. Edward2
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    Bridgend made some good diesel and petrol engines but there is a determination to stop us using vehicles fitted with such engines, so with falling demand this plant has closed.
    It is simple really.

  58. MG
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    This is one of the very few sensible and logical articles about the problems in the Car Industry, thank you John for being a rock of common sense is a sea of hysteria.

  59. margaret howard
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I would have thought JR would have done a piece today on the collapse of Brexit, rather than cars.

    Reply No collapse of Brexit. Pro Brexit voters were in a clear majority again in Peterborough.

    • DaveK
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      In fact due to the “new” electoral maths………… Labour lost.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      Margaret H….OH COME ON. You either just stir or very uninformed. What suggests a collapse of Brexit? The by-election previously held by Labour was able to hang on by a mere 600 votes while losing 17% swing (31% of votes). Brexit party got 10,000 votes from nowhere, and secured 29% of votes. Tories back in 3rd, and the Remain party (LIBDEM) 4th.
      Now if you are talking about the Brexit Ref-winning situation, the PM resignation and candidates to replace her are hardly a collapse. We shall see.
      In the meantime you should apply for a job of headline writer in the gutter press -you seem well equipped.

    • Chris
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      margaret, I struggle to see how anyone with any common sense can draw the conclusion you do from Peterborough. Thankfully, Sir John, has reminded you of the plain truth/facts.

      • margaret howard
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 10:45 am | Permalink


        Would you have said that if Brexit had romped home? Farage certainly believed he had it in the bag.

    • Anonymous
      Posted June 8, 2019 at 12:03 am | Permalink


      Ha ha haha hahahahahahhah !

  60. Richard
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    My current car is 14 years old. I e owned it for 13 years. It is a large engine diesel. Around 18 months ago I looked into replacing it with a much smaller car with a smaller petrol engine. When I was looking the new car was going to cost me a £5000 deposit and £240 per month. This was affordable for me. I began to save for the deposit. Then almost overnight the deposit required went up to £12000 and £480 per month! Totally unaffordable for me. So now I continue to drive my old car that churns out large amounts of particulates.

    • Fred H
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Richard…look for a similar but used car, I’m sure you will be able to afford the deal, and feel happy you have acted more eco-friendly!

  61. Denis Cooper
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    JR, what is going on with the resignation of this official, Karen Wheeler?

    “Director General, Borders

    This is a new cross government role, designed specifically to co-ordinate and assure all the work which is necessary to ensure UK borders continue to be effective and efficient, as we exit the EU in 2019, and continue to protect security, revenue and facilitate all cross border traffic and trade.

    The role will also lead on and co-ordinate the longer term work to deliver a more “frictionless” border, post exit.”

  62. Sue Doughty
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Cars last longer these days. Spending a load of money to have a brand new style on the driveway off trend.
    Charging of electric cars near the owner’s residence is a problem. Multiple extension leads across footpaths and pavements is a trip risk and if the joins are not waterproofed they are a fire risk.

  63. BR
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    To be fair, BL products were rubbish, but it’s certainly true that the lurch from pro-diesel to anti-diesel in a short timeframe is typical of a government staffed by amateurs with no idea how the world works.

    What else do you expect when you have nothing much coming into the HoC but PPE grads and… politically incorrect as it may be to actually say it… shouty housewives in red/blue rosettes who are largely there because of a faux need to balance outcomes in terms of gender rather than to balance opportunity?

    The latest, Forbes, came from an all-women candidate list and seems to have nothing on her cv except trade unionism and being a councillor i.e. full time amateur politician. And then there’s the anti-Semitic row…

    With leaders like this, perhaps it says something about the voters.

  64. BR
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    Peterborough was another disaster. Labour can’t put all those resources into every L|eave seat in the country at a GE with over 400 leave-voting seats at risk to BXP.

    I see Tory leadership candidates now saying that they ‘must deliver Brexit’ by 31/10 – what I’m not seeing is anyone showing awareness that any old thing with a Brexit sticker on it will not do.

    Except McVey – she gets it. But that won’t get her past the remainer MPs.

  65. David Maples
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I agree with Philip Hammond for once. Going all out for green will ‘Rob Peter to pay Paul’. Health, education and obviously defence, will be denuded. It has to be done slowly, and will regardless of an investment led GDP growth, require a huge re-balancing of the economy in thirty years time. Okay, we will all be able to ‘breathe freely’, but the shortages in other sectors will bring Britain close to instability. People during the Second World War accepted privations as a necessary evil in support of the war effort, but we will not be at war in 2050….except with ourselves!

  66. mancunius
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I can recall a time when a company and a major union would not have been allowed to announce and comment on a major industrial closure on the same day as a general or by-election. If it had happened on the day of the 2017 May election, would you have viewed it without concern?

    Btw, Sir John, one problem that needs addressing speedily, one that governments have consistently flagged up but then neglected to tackle: the inherent fraud of electoral registration of those who have no right to vote or do not exist, combined with the mass fraud of postal voting.

    Both are the result of local politicians and political interest groups infesting council departments and deliberately allowing and even encouraging such malpractices. They must cease.

    • Chris
      Posted June 7, 2019 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

      The Conservative government will not tackle it for as long as they gain some sort of advantage from it. Think Uniparty. They are apparently more interested in making sure outsiders do not gain a foothold in the electoral system, threatening the status quo, than ensuring the integrity of the voting system.

  67. ian
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Everything going great, Yesterday’s second place couldn’t have been better, never had it so good, better than the first place with gel now looking to go for a confidence vote in parliament with Tory remainers who are looking to stop a no deal brexit from a new leader.

    Gel has seen an opening for a win in a GE and he won’t miss this chance because time is not on his side, 2 to 3 more years waiting could sink him.

    Tory voters will be looking for Brexit party manifesto, the ones in Peterborough will be thinking hard as to what to do at the GE with their vote down in third place.
    It now looks like an easy win for the Brexit party in Peterborough at the next GE

  68. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    We should be ensuring a UK car market based on the sale (or lease) of electric cars to city dwellers and diesel/electric hybrids to rural dwellers. Get rid of the excess tax and the credit restrictions and slap an import duty of 20% on ALL foreign made cars. That way we will encourage investment in the UK in modern autos. Japanese, German etc designs will be welcome but let their manufacture be in UK.

  69. Chris
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

    Some key factors to consider with regard to the collapse of traditional cars are the policies inflicted on us by the EU and its climate change “hysteria” – highlighted in the latest Global Warming Policy Foundation newsletter:

    1) Mad Climate Policies Are Plunging Europe’s Car Industry Into Crisis
    Alex Brummer, Daily Mail, 3 June 2019

    2) Climate Hysteria Threatens Europe’s Car Industry
    Financial Times, 16 April 2019
    “Europe car groups face huge profit hit to cut CO2”

    3) Europe’s Car Industry Faces New Emissions Scandal As CO2 Figures Don’t Stack Up
    Automobile Management Online, 6 June 2019

  70. ian
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    As I said just the other week, in 6 to 9 years all most all manufacturing will be shut down, it was the carbon tax from Brussels of 100M and high electric costs with business rates from the Tory gov that shut british steel and they made a 93M profit in 2016 and could have made 55 million profit this year without all the new overheads put on to them.

    If you vote for any of the party in parliament now, you are voting to shut down UK manufacturing and once shut down it won’t be coming back, why banks don’t like manufacturing and won’t lend the big money needed because of brussels and your own governments with never-ending taxes with regulation.

    The money needed can only come by getting rid of taxes on manufacturing and regulations and lower electric prices and out of the clutches of brussels, then maybe the banks might look to start lending to build automotive factories that can compete with Asia, staying with the party in the HOC will not cut it, they are all looking to manage the UK decline in the world because that is their belief which they have been following for 70 years.

    That why you need new people in parliament who will not follow the old dogma and start doing things from a new point of view and trying new ideas, you won’t get that with the old party in parliament, they will just follow the old dogma, same old same old.

  71. Ian Smith
    Posted June 7, 2019 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Mr Redwood always talks about the government as a 3rd party – they should do this or they should do that. Just a minor point – YOU ARE AN ELECTED MEMBER OF THE GOVERNING PARTY!! Why not try and influence within Parliament rather than just rant via your website?

    As an aside, regarding the issue diesel is a proven polluter and we should be penalising its use. Whilst electric cars still have a way to go before becoming mass market, there are plenty of hybrids that are an affordable compromise. I have no idea how reducing tax rates of new cars will help anything – how will a £100 discount on a £20,000 car make a difference?

    Reply I am not a member of the government and as a backbench MP it is my duty to criticise and argue for improvements as well as to support. I have not felt to be any part of this government since the announcement of the Chequers proposals which I have always opposed. IN the lest six months the government hasn’t done much else.

    • Edward2
      Posted June 8, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      I see you have fallen for the propaganda that diesels are dirty Ian.
      Modern Euro six diesels are not dirty at all.
      Low CO2, very good MPG, stop start technology in traffic, clever particulate filters.
      The city air levels in the UK are better now than any time in our history.
      Cars only create a small part of total air pollution yet there is a demonisation of them being created by the green lobby.
      Hybrids have small petrol engines working hard most of the time and they push out their pollution too.
      When you hear on the news that some UK cities breach UN or EU pollution levels remember these levels have been recently set so low that no one can meet them without banning petrol and diesel vehicles use.
      Other things which would need banning in city areas are:- log burning stoves, bbq’s, diesel trains, planes, bonfires, a lot of construction and industrial equipment, boats and ships, motor racing and rallying and much more.
      Which is the long term the green lobby’s ambition.

      • Edward2
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Buses and coaches too.

      • Fred H
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

        stop rearing cows, and ask everybody to avoid exercise, walk slowly never run, ban athletics – it all creates too much carbon dioxide.

    • margaret howard
      Posted June 8, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Reply to reply:

      “I have not felt to be any part of this government since the announcement of the Chequers proposals which I have always opposed”

      But as Ian Smith points out:

      ” YOU ARE AN ELECTED MEMBER OF THE GOVERNING PARTY!! Why not try and influence within Parliament rather than just rant via your website?”

      Aren’t you doing an injustice to the people who elected you as their MP? And shouldn’t you resign rather than sniping from the sidelines? Or join groups like the ERG to undermine your own government?

      Is that what your constituents voted for – in fact for you to have your cake and eat it?

      Reply Of course I should and did seek to influence from within Parliament and successfully worked with others to vote down the draft treaty!

      • Edward2
        Posted June 8, 2019 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

        Margaret do you understand the arithmetic of the House of Commons?
        Over 630 MP’s
        Sir John has one vote.
        What point is there in giving up and resigning?
        Please just think it through before posting.

  72. anon
    Posted June 8, 2019 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Its clear population numbers and the number of cars drive energy use in general.
    Its clear from May to Blair decades how governments simply cant or wont meet proclaimed policy. The main reason being a imho a EU remain mindset.

    To have a successful new tech energy policy we need to leave the EU to have freedom to pursue it.

    This would reduce support for nuclear fission builds and policy encouragement for renewable and efficient non locally polluting machinery with national infrastructure plans, for transport housing and industry.

    Particularly in high density areas or pollution hotspots or hospitals or schools.

    Electricity is the propulsion of the future.
    1) It is fundamentally more easily delivered compared to liquid fuels.

    2) electricity will get cheaper mainly based on new renewable production and storage tech. The only short term competitor is legacy nuclear and gas plants.

    3) HMG government should be encouraging planning permission for solar,wind parks maybe dual use on farming land.

    4)As install costs fall ,floating solar and wind should allow us to overprovision capacity with a view to curtailment and storage as well as dynamic pricing to reduce any mismatch of demand and supply..

    5) New industry and domestic uses will arise to use this “curtailed energy” either storage companies or manufacturing for stock, e.g. smelting aluminium blocksm m

    Reduced imports of overseas energy.
    Low carbon or low pollution products and consumption.
    Longer term cheaper energy as renewables must be delivered below the cost of own use production. Mitiigating energy politics and cartel issues.

    More domestic employment and service industry and multiplier effects of UK based provision.

    And yes electric lorries, buses,boats and small planes are all possible now.

    How much is a 100watt solar panel? uninstalled Answer less than 1$ a watt for US domestic buyers.(not in EU). These numbers are only falling.

  73. James Daniels
    Posted June 8, 2019 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Batteries require lithium and cobalt to be mined in addition to electricity generation capacity to charge the batteries when they’ve been manufactured.
    If the UK were instead to invest in nuclear power stations, which cannot be turned on and off quickly, so kept them running at a constant rate, but used the excess power produced in off peak times to generate hydrogen from the electrolysis of water, then UK vehicles could use internal combustion engines running on hydrogen.

  74. aldershot garage
    Posted June 11, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Thanks for sharing this.

  • 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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