British automakers on the brink of golden age with electric investment
The UK auto industry is on the cusp of a new golden age of manufacturing that will rival the production boom of almost a century ago, said Investment Minister Lord Grimstone .
The former chairman of Barclays and Standard Life – who was also an adviser to Margaret Thatcher – said the surge was due to billions of pounds in foreign investment in electric cars as manufacturers rushed to meet demand growing.
He said the huge wave of investment in electric vehicles would boost the auto industry in much the same way the mass production boom did from the 1930s to the 1950s, when Britain became the world’s largest exporter of cars.
Driving force: Lord Grimstone said the rise in production is due to billions of pounds of foreign investment in electric cars
Lord Grimstone, an unpaid minister who heads the government’s office for investment, revealed that the UK has 3,000 potential investment deals open across the economy.
This equates to “tens of billions” of pounds of potential foreign investment in the UK over the next three years, he said, creating up to 700,000 jobs over the next decade.
Topping the list for foreign investors is electric car manufacturing and its supply chain, he told the Mail on Sunday, adding: “We are on the cusp of an automotive renaissance that will take us back to the 1930s It’s a customer-centric thing All auto manufacturers have been taken aback by the rate at which people are switching to electric vehicles.
“Electric vehicles will be the business model for the next 30 or 50 years. If Britain gets its fair share, or more than its fair share, she will settle us completely.
Britain overtook France to become Europe’s largest automaker in 1932, led by manufacturers such as Morris, Austin, and Ford. In 1950, it produced 52% of world car exports, driven by demand from the United States, where demand exceeded supply.
This dominance began to wane in the 1960s and 1970s, as British companies struggled to match cheaper models produced by their competitors in Japan, Europe and the United States. Lord Grimstone said he expected auto manufacturing to return to the flourishing industry it was “50 or 60 years ago in this country” before the decline.
He said that in addition to vehicle manufacturing, foreign investors were interested in financing the supply chain for electric cars, such as “gigafactories” to make batteries for cars.
Last month, Japanese company Nissan announced a £ 1billion electric vehicle hub in Sunderland. Meanwhile, Dutch company Stellantis, which owns Vauxhall, is investing £ 100million in building electric vans at its Ellesmere Port factory in Cheshire. And Jaguar Land Rover is expected to become a fully electric luxury brand by 2025, launching six new all-electric models from 2024.
British auto production in July fell to its lowest level since 1956 – to just 53,438 vehicles due to the shortage of semiconductor chips and ‘pingemia’. But UK factories have produced a record 126,757 electric or hybrid cars so far this year.
Industry forecasts suggest that electric vehicles will account for 25% of total new car sales in 2025, up from 6.6% in 2020. They are expected to reach 70% of new car sales in 2030 and 100% by 2035.
Critics have warned that electric cars cannot replace gasoline or diesel until battery life improves and more charging points are installed.
But Fiona Howarth, Managing Director of Octopus Electric Vehicles, which has installed over 100,000 charging points in the UK, said: “The upward trend in electric car sales paints a very clear picture – we are at. the dawn of the electric car revolution. , not just here but all over the world. This is the biggest transition the auto industry has seen in 100 years and it offers huge opportunities for new companies and brands. We see that drivers are open to trying new brands and that automakers need new components and volume talent. ‘
Lord Grimstone sparked controversy last week, claiming that British companies were better off under foreign control because they were more productive and generated more exports and jobs.
Critics have warned that some foreign investors have turned out to be “raptor predators.” Lord Grimstone said the National Security and Investment Act, which comes into force in January, should prevent “harmful” investments from “going through the back door”.
The government has announced a £ 2.3bn fund to support electric vehicle manufacturing and its supply chain, including giga factories and charging points.
In October, it will organize a summit to attract more foreign investors. Popular sectors also include offshore wind, life sciences and fintech, Lord Grimstone said.
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