SMMT calls for greater support

British automotive manufacturers are calling for urgent action on spiralling costs as new analysis from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals firms face a £90m uplift in energy bills this year – equivalent to more than 2,500 automotive jobs – as costs surge by 50%.

UK electricity prices are the most expensive of any European automotive manufacturing country and 59% higher than the EU average, meaning that last year, UK manufacturers could have saved almost £50m on energy costs if they were buying in the EU rather than the UK.

The additional cost of producing vehicles and components in the UK is putting manufacturers at a competitive disadvantage, stalling momentum at the very time the sector needs to make massive investments to meet accelerated timescales for zero emission transformation.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, From Covid impacts to component shortages, supply chain disruption to trade uncertainty, and regulatory change to rising inflation, the challenges facing this sector are immense. Nevertheless, addressing the UK’s high energy costs is the industry’s number one ask.

“Help with energy costs now will help keep us competitive and be a windfall for the sector, stimulating investment in innovation, R&D, training – all reinvested in the UK economy. With the right backing this sector can drive the transition to net zero, supporting jobs and growth across the UK and exports across the globe.”

The SMMT has now published a roadmap, From Full Throttle to Full Charge, that sets out how industry can work with government to build a UK automotive ecosystem fit for a zero emission future.