Boards.ie uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Click here to find out more x
Post Reply  
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
07-06-2019, 11:13   #1
Snickers Man
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,278
Whither Automotive Manufacturing in UK?

This may be a thread mainly about economics but there are clear political factors considering the tortuous process that is Britain's exit from the EU.

In 2013 the then popular Top Gear programme broadcast an item aimed at debunking what they thought was a prevailing impression that the UK didn't have a car manufacturing industry. It is frequently repeated on Dave TV. This was largely, they said, because there was no longer a British-owned, British based manufacturer of everyday passenger cars. Sure, there were specialist oddities like Morgans but all of what was once Rover, Jaguar, Austin Morris, Leyland etc was now either foreign owned or defunct.

But, they said, and with some considerable justification: there is still a very healthy British automotive industry if you look more closely. What followed then was a typically Top Gear lavishly presented brilliantly filmed tribute to British car (and truck and bus) making culminating with a parade on The Mall of all that Britain has to offer in this regard. As of today you can still see it on You Tube (Link at bottom of page)

But how have things changed since then, especially given the impending Brexit?

The following table compares the statements made in 2013 with the situation today. I am not aware of any new developments or inward investments made since then that would not have been mentioned in the programme. If anybody knows of any, feel free to add them.

How much of the changes, for good and ill, are due to Brexit? I only ask

Claims made in Top Gear Tribute 2013Situation as of June 2019
“Today (2013) a new car rolls off a production line somewhere in Britain every 20 seconds”Using data from this site I calculated the rate of car production in no of seconds per car rollout for that year and all subsequent years. See second Table below
Honda has a factory in Swindon where 2,700 people are employed to make the Civic, the Jazz and the CRV. Feb 2019, Honda announced plant would close by 2021.
The Nissan plant in the north east last year (2012) made more cars than the entire Italian motor industry put together. Feb/March 2019: Nissan cancels production of Infiniti in Sunderland and abandons plans to make X-trail SUV there.
"Last year (2012) one in three Fords sold globally had an engine made in Wales (Bridgend) or in Essex (Dagenham)"June 2019: Ford announces Bridgend plant to close in 2020
Toyota makes cars in Derbyshire (which are then exported to Japan)Production continuing as of June 2019, although management has consistently warned of damaging consequences of “no-deal” Brexit.
Rolls Royce plant in Sussex. Most components come from Germany, but assembly done here. 2019: Production ongoing
All Indy car racers, every Dakar winner since 2009, 35 of the 56 starters in this year’s Le Mans including the winner, the Marusha F1 car and the Pagani Huayra all have gearboxes made by Xtrac in BerkshireOpened factory extension in November 2018
JCBs used in nearly every country in world. Announced new cab manufacturing site on existing British site in 2018
There are 11 F1 teams, 8 based in Britain and seven can be seen from one hill in Oxfordshire. (Williiams, Lotus, Caterham, Marusha, Force India, Red Bull and Mercedes)2013: Ten Formula One Teams. Six based in UK, two in Italy, one each in Switzerland and US.
75% of all R&D in Global motor sport is British (Clutch, hybrid systems, ECUs)Inexact statement, nothing to compare
For five of the last 7 years Aston Martin is voted coolest brand in the world.Whatever
Morgans2019: Still being made in UK
Triumph Bikes2019: Still being made in UK



YearNo of seconds a new car rolls off production line in UK
  
201320.9s
201420.65s
201519.88s
201618.32s
201718.88s
201820.77s

Maybe those more technically adroit than myself can improve the formatting of the above tables to make them more legible. It's interesting that the rate of car manufacture increased until 2016, the year of the Brexit vote, and has slowed since.

As of June 2019, you can still see the Top Gear tribute show on YouTube. Here it is.


Last edited by Snickers Man; 07-06-2019 at 11:22.
Snickers Man is offline  
(3) thanks from:
Advertisement
07-06-2019, 13:06   #2
Shelga
Registered User
 
Shelga's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,671
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snickers Man View Post

But how have things changed since then, especially given the impending Brexit?
I used to work at Jaguar Land Rover for 5 years, so can comment upon the difference between when I worked there and now, having been gone 3 years now.

They were expanding massively, product lines were becoming huge with many variants- bloated, some might say- and new factories were springing up all over the place. Joint ventures in China and Brazil, new factory for Defender replacement in Slovakia, etc etc. All the news seemed to be good news.

Now, they've let 4500 people go in the last month, I hear overtime is all but gone, and some factories are on 3 day weeks.

It's hard to tell how much is Brexit-related, and how much would have happened anyway- falling diesel and China sales being the other two main factors. There were around 20k employees at JLR when I started in 2011, and nearly 40k when I left in 2016- that rate of expansion is surely too fast, and has proven to be premature and unsustainable. Then again, the car industry is cyclical in nature, so who knows.

For companies like Ford though, people are delusional if they think the board did not discuss Brexit when trying to decide which plants to close. That's harder for JLR, as most of their output comes from within the UK.

It's definitely an interesting time in the automotive industry in the UK, but every single day I am grateful I left it when I did, and have moved into another sector.
Shelga is online now  
07-06-2019, 14:29   #3
Snickers Man
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,278
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shelga View Post
I used to work at Jaguar Land Rover for 5 years, so can comment upon the difference between when I worked there and now, having been gone 3 years now.

They were expanding massively,........ All the news seemed to be good news.

Now, they've let 4500 people go in the last month, I hear overtime is all but gone, and some factories are on 3 day weeks.
Funny the original program didn't mention any figures about Jaguar, although they all "flew the flag" by turning up at The Mall in their Jags.

I am not, despite appearances, a forensic follower of the UK car scene. Have there been any moves there towards investment in newer car technologies, such as battery-powered or other sustainable forms of transport?
Snickers Man is offline  
29-08-2019, 16:47   #4
Snickers Man
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,278
It's August 29th 2019 and on the front page of the Business Section of today's (paywalled) Daily Telegraph, there is this charming report stating that "Car production falls for the 14th month".

In July, says the Torygraph in an issue top-heavy with positive comment about Johnson suspending Parliament so that the sane tendency in British politics can't stop a no-deal Brexit, "car production in the UK fell 10.6pc, the 14th consecutive month of decline as Brexit and global economic uncertainties weigh."

The report says that a total of 108,239 cars rolled off production lines in July making a total for the year to date of 774,760 "almost a fifth down on 2018."

To update the second table in the OP, the one that says how many seconds it takes for a car to roll off a production line in the UK, for the first seven months of 2019 and assuming that the same rate applies for the rest of the year (ie that it doesn't decline again for a 15th or 16th month) that would yield a year-to-date figure of one car every 23.64 seconds, significantly slower than the 2018 figure of one car every 20.77 seconds and behind even the Top Gear quoted figure for 2013 of one car every 20.9 seconds.

Stuck in reverse? The Telegraph seems to think so.

EDIT: I'm thinking of changing my Boards User name to Skibbereen Eagle

Last edited by Snickers Man; 29-08-2019 at 16:50.
Snickers Man is offline  
30-08-2019, 14:46   #5
Aegir
Registered User
 
Aegir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 2,510
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snickers Man View Post
It's August 29th 2019 and on the front page of the Business Section of today's (paywalled) Daily Telegraph, there is this charming report stating that "Car production falls for the 14th month".

In July, says the Torygraph in an issue top-heavy with positive comment about Johnson suspending Parliament so that the sane tendency in British politics can't stop a no-deal Brexit, "car production in the UK fell 10.6pc, the 14th consecutive month of decline as Brexit and global economic uncertainties weigh."

The report says that a total of 108,239 cars rolled off production lines in July making a total for the year to date of 774,760 "almost a fifth down on 2018."

To update the second table in the OP, the one that says how many seconds it takes for a car to roll off a production line in the UK, for the first seven months of 2019 and assuming that the same rate applies for the rest of the year (ie that it doesn't decline again for a 15th or 16th month) that would yield a year-to-date figure of one car every 23.64 seconds, significantly slower than the 2018 figure of one car every 20.77 seconds and behind even the Top Gear quoted figure for 2013 of one car every 20.9 seconds.

Stuck in reverse? The Telegraph seems to think so.

EDIT: I'm thinking of changing my Boards User name to Skibbereen Eagle
You can't take the UK car industry in isolation though. The motor industry is truly global in nature and what is happening in the UK, is not happening in isolation.

VW and Ford have announced a combined 12,000 job losses in Germany alone https://www.dw.com/en/ford-to-cut-50...ive/a-47940093

there is an often used phrase "We don't want to be the taxi driver that didn't see uber coming" when in reality, it should be the car companies, not the taxi driver, as 43% of Londoners see Uber as an alternative to owning a car. https://www.businessinsider.com/lond...17-6?r=US&IR=T

Great news for the Toyota Prius I guess, but bad news for JLR, Mercedes and BMW.
Aegir is online now  
Advertisement
30-08-2019, 15:05   #6
LuckyLloyd
The Voice of Reason
 
LuckyLloyd's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 32,762
20% reduction in production in a year is incredibly significant. If that continues as a trend UK car manafacturing has the same future as UK coal mining.
LuckyLloyd is offline  
30-08-2019, 19:58   #7
L1011
Moderator
 
L1011's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by LuckyLloyd View Post
20% reduction in production in a year is incredibly significant. If that continues as a trend UK car manafacturing has the same future as UK coal mining.
They were facing the same decline in the 80s and it was only securing Nissan and Honda via surprisingly unTory incentives that recovered it. In the current environment there is basically no incentive that'd get an A-list manufacturer to enter the UK as a replacement.
L1011 is online now  
(3) thanks from:
31-08-2019, 02:46   #8
Heraldoffreeent
Registered User
 
Heraldoffreeent's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 949
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegir View Post
You can't take the UK car industry in isolation though. The motor industry is truly global in nature and what is happening in the UK, is not happening in isolation.

VW and Ford have announced a combined 12,000 job losses in Germany alone https://www.dw.com/en/ford-to-cut-50...ive/a-47940093

there is an often used phrase "We don't want to be the taxi driver that didn't see uber coming" when in reality, it should be the car companies, not the taxi driver, as 43% of Londoners see Uber as an alternative to owning a car. https://www.businessinsider.com/lond...17-6?r=US&IR=T

Great news for the Toyota Prius I guess, but bad news for JLR, Mercedes and BMW.
Mercedes and BMW?
Quote:
FREE NOW is part of the mobility joint venture between BMW and Daimler, formed in February 2019. In July 2016, mytaxi announced the merger with Hailo, the leading taxi app in Ireland and the UK - an important step in becoming the leading taxi e-hailing app in Europe.

Today, FREE NOW works with 700 employees in 26 offices and is available in over 100 cities across Europe. Eckart Diepenhorst is the CEO of FREE NOW Europe.
Heraldoffreeent is offline  
01-09-2019, 23:34   #9
Snickers Man
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,278
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegir View Post

Great news for the Toyota Prius I guess, but bad news for JLR, Mercedes and BMW.
Why the Prius? What am I missing?

Last thing I heard about Prius was that they were the number one target for Catalytic Converter thieves.
Snickers Man is offline  
Thanks from:
Advertisement
02-09-2019, 09:19   #10
Aegir
Registered User
 
Aegir's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Posts: 2,510
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snickers Man View Post
Why the Prius? What am I missing?

Last thing I heard about Prius was that they were the number one target for Catalytic Converter thieves.
because it is the car of choice for Uber drivers it seems. At least it appears to be in London.

https://thetab.com/2015/12/04/why-is...-a-prius-64401
Aegir is online now  
(2) thanks from:
04-09-2019, 20:21   #11
Marcusm
Registered User
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 7,720
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aegir View Post
because it is the car of choice for Uber drivers it seems. At least it appears to be in London.

https://thetab.com/2015/12/04/why-is...-a-prius-64401
Because of the congestion charge exemption although this has been tightened up now.
Marcusm is offline  
(2) thanks from:
11-10-2019, 17:00   #12
Snickers Man
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 4,278
UPDATE

On today's (Oct 11th 2019) Irish Times website there is a report saying "Toyota warns its UK plants in jeopardy under No Deal".

Quotations from Toyota Europe's VP of Sales: "a manufacturing plant that’s sending 95 per cent of its output volume into continental Europe, if ...forced to cope with 10 per cent tariffs, ..is..not really in a position to pass that on to an end customer because of the competitiveness of the market. It would be extremely difficult for us to have a competitive, sustainable business operation.”

Also I don't think the Original Top Gear programme mentioned Wright Bus from Ballymena, currently in administration, although there were shots of some red double deckers during the "gathering" scene. In today's news an "agreement in principle" to take over the facility has been arranged with an investor though what the new owners plans are are not clear yet.
Snickers Man is offline  
(2) thanks from:
Post Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Remove Text Formatting
Bold
Italic
Underline

Insert Image
Wrap [QUOTE] tags around selected text
 
Decrease Size
Increase Size
Please sign up or log in to join the discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search



Share Tweet