The slump in UK car manufacturing continued in July, with just 85,000 vehicles rolling off production lines last month, over 20 per cent lower than a year ago. However, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the figure showed a “marked improvement” on previous months as factories continued to reopen after lockdown. With most plants shuttered as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the first six months of the year were the worst for car production since 1954, with just 381,357 cars built.
But since April, when the market flatlined and only 197 cars were built, output has grown steadily as car markets around the world get back up and running. Today’s data confirmed that trend, with 85,696 vehicles built last month, compared to 56,594 in June. For the year to date, however, overall production remains down 39.7 per cent, representing a year-on-year loss of 307,707 cars. Domestic manufacturing, which slipped 37.1 per cent, suffered far worse than cars built for export, which fell 16.8 per cent. With a total of 72,262 units built, exports accounted for more than eight out of 10 vehicles built in July with buyers in overseas markets, including the EU, China and the US. [...]
Downing Street has been warned that Boris Johnson has less than two weeks to save post-Brexit trade and security talks, according to senior European Union sources. Michel Barnier and David Frost, the UK’s chief negotiator, will hold emergency talks next week in an effort to save the negotiations, The Times understands. Mr Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, told the government last week that negotiations will not move forward until Mr Frost explains what Britain’s future policy will be on industrial subsidies.
In an angry response, the prime minister’s negotiator hit back, telling the French former European commissioner that Britain would not draw up such a key economic policy on a “timetable dictated to” by the EU. Unless there is a breakthrough during the eighth round of talks in London, beginning on September 7, there is a growing risk that negotiations will collapse by the end of the month. “It is hard to see how we get out of this hole,” a senior EU source close to the talks said. “Pessimism is now dominant. Unless Frost unblocks this it is hard to see how a deal can be saved. We really are on the brink this time.” [...]
Companies are regaining confidence in the economy but they are still deeply cautious about the outlook, a survey has found. According to the latest Lloyds Bank business barometer, business confidence has climbed for a third month in a row to -14 per cent. Although it rose by eight points, the index is still stuck in negative territory, which suggests that companies are more pessimistic than they are optimistic.
The pandemic is weighing heavily on trading conditions, even though the lockdown has been eased. Almost two thirds of respondents, 62 per cent, reported weaker levels of demand because of the pandemic, a small improvement from 66 per cent in July. Those in manufacturing and retail reported the sharpest downturns. [...]
Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) have been found to play an important part in helping buyers make the switch to fully electric cars, in a new survey commissioned by Mitsubishi. It polled more than 1000 of its customers and found that 70% of those with an Outlander PHEV would consider a fully electric car for their next purchase. The survey also revealed that almost half of those that bought an Outlander PHEV would have considered an electric car but were put off by range anxiety.
Only 9% of petrol and diesel drivers surveyed by Mitsubishi said they considered an EV when choosing their current car, but 23% did consider a PHEV and more than a third (34%) would consider a PHEV as their next car - underscoring its potential as a transitional technology on the road to decarbonised transport. The number of PHEV models available is accelerating rapidly, with the majority of major car brands now offering multiple models in their line-ups. PHEV sales have grown by almost 60% year-to-date, now accounting for 3.3% of new car sales. [...]
Worries around charging infrastructure have been cited as the biggest perceived disadvantage to electric vehicles, according to a Department for Transport (DfT) survey. The results hint that there is still more work to do in order to educate drivers about how often they need to charge their vehicles compared with their daily mileage, as well as how EVs are mostly charged at home or work, for those that have access to those facilities. The DfT's latest Transport and Technology Public Attitudes Tracker report surveyed 3,500 adults in England in June 2019.
Four in 10 mentioned recharging (where/how) (38%) and battery life/distance travelled (38%), while three in 10 (30%) mentioned a scarcity of charging points. When responses were grouped together, 54% mentioned recharging concerns (this included ‘where/how to charge’; ‘not enough charging points’; and ‘time taken to recharge’). A further 40% mentioned battery concerns around range and the environmental impact of battery disposal. A small minority (6%) could think of no disadvantages of EVs, while 11% answered ‘don’t know’. The results echo a survey from ACFO last year that said the accessibility of charge points is a concern fleet drivers. [...]
Perrys has agreed a new three-year deal with Manheim. The new contract cements their 20-year partnership up until the end of 2023 and will see over 8,000 cars each year offered through Manheim Leeds, Mansfield, Northampton and Wimbledon, with commercial vehicles via Manheim dedicated Commercial Vehicle auction centre at Manheim Shepshed. In addition to remarketing its trade stock, Perrys is seeking to expand the partnership by also making the most of Cox Automotive’s digital solutions.
This includes a group wide roll-out of Cox Automotive’s valuation and appraisal product – eVA. These tools will be used to compliment Perrys’ instore and online sales processes. Darren Ardron, managing director at Perrys, said: “Manheim continues to provide us with a great solution to remarketing stock and they’ve continued to do this despite the current pandemic. They are also an organisation which shares our values and we believe can meet our needs both now and in the future.” [...]
Former online-only used car dealer Cazoo has been accused of making a ‘huge u-turn’ as it moves away from selling cars purely online to set up physical sites. Cazoo, launched by Zoopla founder Alex Chesterman, has so far raised more than £200m from investors with a promise to ‘revolutionise the car buying process’ with its ‘disruptive’ model. Designed to be an online only used car dealer, selling cars on its website and delivering to customers’ homes, the business recently snapped up Imperial Car Supermarkets. Cazoo – recently valued at £800m – is now busy closing sites and setting others up as ‘customer centres’ around the UK. [...]