UK car manufacturing – victims of their own success?

As much as we don’t like it, the fields full of new unsold cars currently expanding across the country has been predicted by MTI for some time. The government simply must help with some much needed financial relief whether in the form of loans or a government stake holding, which would help save thousands of UK jobs in the car industry.
We have already seen factories making cutbacks in production and voluntary redundancies, and we now hear Vauxhall are the latest company to put staff on alert that they may have to accept substantial pay cuts in order to cut costs. The sad reality is that although almost all UK based factories are foreign owned it equates to nearly 1 million UK jobs which will be affected by this meltdown.

This downturn in car manufacturing unlike in the 70s where the plants were in the grip of the unions, crippled by inefficiency and basically just producing bad cars, is now a result of the fact that we have become so good a turning out modern, well built cars at a fair rate of knots – a victim of improvement, efficiency and increased production.

The worlds governments now have a decision to make, do they assist in at least safeguarding some jobs (it is inevitable that major job losses will occur even with help) like they have seemed all to happy to do with the banks that created this financial landslide, or do they let them all drown and at a stroke potentially decimating the car manufacturing industry. What needs to be considered here is that the major banks around the world created their own problems by reckless lending and short-termism but the car industry, especially in the UK has at least operated streamlined efficient production lines which have given us major choices in our motoring options and allowed a substantial amount of people realise the dream of owning a brand new car, something that 30 years ago was an option for only the privileged few.

Finally is the reluctance to help the workers in car factories really about status?
White collar vs. blue collar make up your own mind!

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2 Responses to UK car manufacturing – victims of their own success?

  1. D Cage February 1, 2009 at 10:44 am #

    How much of the motor industries problems are caused by the green lobby? How many people think about changing their car but having seen the sudden tax hike on the vehicle a neighbour or friend has bought rendering it unsaleable and at the same time unaffordable, decide not to spend the cash?
    I know of one for certain. Me. It is fine if the car of your dreams is an Eco cart capable of 0-60 mph in two weeks and costs twice the price of a real one. For the rest of us it is hold fire until you have to buy a replacement.

    Why does the motor and airline industry not get together and highlight the fact that the green lobby’s pressure to stop nuclear caused more increase in emissions than any possible increase in air or motor travel?
    By the way which cars have the highest UK content as contrary to the figures I read everywhere my most reliable cars in the past were actually British made. I do have to admit they had more silly little faults than the foreign ones but no serious ones at all unlike for example my Peugeot.

  2. Doug Giles February 3, 2009 at 6:01 pm #

    The fields are full of new cars because although plenty of buyers like me want to change their 2 year old low-mileage cars, and have the money waiting, dealers believe they can still continue trading as in the good times. I have contacted over 6 dealers so far looking for a sensible deal in the current market conditions. They all want me to take hit of 70% off the new price of my part exchange in 2 years, which is low mileage, still under warranty and in perfect condition, to buy an equivalent new or nearly new car. They then expect to put my car in their used sales lot with a mark-up to them of over 100% when they do not have to spend anything on it before sale.

    No wonder cars are not selling! Until the greed stops and the motor trade wake up to the fact that it is now a buyers’ market they will not sell many cars and the fields will overflow!

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