21 April 2010
UK Car Market: Local Vs Import
In 2001, only 24% of cars sold in the UK were locally made. I thought that was bad. However, with the demise of virtually all local brands, the Japanese brands that set up factories in the UK could have replaced them in the market. Unfortunately, they either failed to register as locally made, or were dismissed as not actually adding anything to the economy. The latter opinion, while popular among some, would have to be right up there with the logic of the flat earth society.
The trend toward imported cars has continued. While some of these imported cars do have UK made engines, that represents something like 10% added value only. In 2002, local cars made up 23%, then 20%, 18%, 17%, 14.5%, 14%, 13.5% and in 2009 just under 11%. The last figure represents just over 200,000 units of 2 million. It's hard to say if this will ever be reversed, although I'm picking a small increase in locally made cars for 2010.
It's a lesson that if you don't take care of what you have, it can be lost and not ever retrieved. The Austins, Morris', Triumphs, Rovers etc have gone. A shame but they were not looked after by the management that was supposed to protect and nurture them.
The bottom line: It seems the import has won the battle of Britain.
Pictures: Top, the past of UK car making, the Rover 2000 and above the future, the Nissan Qashqai.
PS. Data for this blog sourced from the SMMT, proud supporters of UK car manufacturing.