As the February 2020 issue of Tyres & Accessories goes to press, the United Kingdom is officially leaving the European Union after three years of intense dispute and debate. At the same time, 2019 wasn’t a great year for the automotive and tyre industries (see page 36 onwards for further details of what has transpired during the last 12 months). And with a no-deal scenario presenting the possibility of import tariffs on and parts, 2020 doesn’t look like it is going to be a whole bunch better. However, while the disappointing performance of the car and tyre markets is linked to Brexit, the issues are not one and the same.
UK car production fell -14.2 per cent in 2019, to 1,303,135 units, according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with a -6.4 per cent drop in December rounding off a third year of decline. Output was affected by multiple factors, including weakened consumer and business confidence at home, slower demand in key overseas markets, a number of significant model production changes and a shift from diesel across Europe. Factory shutdowns in the spring and autumn, timed to mitigate expected disruption arising from the anticipated departure of the UK from the EU on 29 March and 31 October, also had a marked effect.
In 2019, global light vehicle (LV) sales were at their lowest point since 2015, at 89.8 million, which was 4.8 per cent down on 2018’s 94.3 million total. December’s sales of 8.15 million were 2.3 per cent lower than in December 2018, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
CES in 2020 saw much more measured attitudes towards autonomous vehicles (AVs) than in previous years. As AV developers move beyond the technical hype and begin to tackle the immense challenge of putting safe self-driving vehicles on the road, many have realised that this goal will take more investment and more time to reach than previously thought, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.
Following the new and tighter EU CO2 emissions rules for cars sold in Europe coming into effect in 2020, David Leggett, automotive editor at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, said that the European industry will find 2020 “another hugely competitive year”, with increased complexity, due to car-makers factoring in “push and pull for models according to new EU CO2 fleet average rules.” Leggett continues, “They will be attempting to keep exposure to potentially very hefty fines as low as possible.”
Following the news that American electric truck startup Rivian Automotive (Rivian) has raised US$1.3bn in new funding; Aurojyoti Bose, Lead Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the start-up’s journey: “In an extremely capital intensive industry such as automotive manufacturing, companies are required to raise billions of dollars and Rivian so far has been successful in gaining traction among investors. The new funding was led by asset management firm T. Rowe Price with Amazon, Ford Motor Co and BlackRock also participating. This marks the fourth funding for Rivian in 2019 and earlier it has already raised more than US$1.5bn from Ford, Amazon and Cox Automotive.
With 2020 just around the corner, the future of the UK new car market looks bleak amidst economic and political uncertainty. The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT) shows the new car market continued to decline with new registrations down 1.3 per cent year-on-year.
Ford’s introduction of an electric sport utility vehicle (SUV) in 2020 is “a bold move” according to David Leggett, automotive editor at data and analytics company GlobalData. “The idea is to promote the traditional Mustang brand’s strengths of performance and flair for a vehicle that will be fun and exciting, rather than merely created to help meet future compliance standards. The Mach-EE is no econobox.
Following the release of Nissan’s financial results (12 November 2019), where the company has reported quarterly operating profits are down 70 per cent on last year, David Leggett, automotive editor at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view: “The latest set of results from Nissan underlines the scale of the recovery challenge ahead for Nissan’s newly shaken-up management team. The company is clearly struggling to get back on track a year after the arrest of ex-chairman Carlos Ghosn on financial misconduct charges.
A recent report conducted by LeasePlan, which surveyed 4,000 people in 16 countries, found 61 per cent of global respondents favour zero-emission electric driving, while half of UK respondents said their desire to own an electric vehicle (EV) has risen in the last three years, reports GlobalData.
Following the news that Toyota and BYD are setting up a joint company to develop battery electric vehicles (BEVs) targeted at the Chinese market, David Leggett, automotive editor at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, says the cooperation makes sense for both parties.