The UK is taking steps forward in automated technology in vehicles with the launch of a call for evidence on 18 August 2020 to help shape how innovative new systems could be used in future on GB roads. The call for evidence will look at the Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) – an automated system that can take over control of the vehicle at low speeds, keeping it in lane on motorways.
Ending the sale of new petrol, diesel, and hybrid cars and vans by 2035 or earlier would not only be unfeasible but seriously economically damaging, particularly at a time when the economy is struggling to recover from the Coronavirus lockdown. The original date of 2040 is already a very tough ask”, said Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA).
The Committee on Climate Change has advised the government to bring forward its ban on petrol and diesel vehicles to 2032. The government is working to a provisional date of 2035 to ban the sale of all vehicles that aren’t zero-emission, but the committee’s progress report is now suggesting that target is too late. However, the BVRLA is not sure if that is a realistic target.
Following the news that new European tyre labels come into force on 1 May 2021, the UK government embarked on an “Improving new vehicle safety and environmental compliance plus passenger vehicle digital radio requirement” consultation on 1 June 2020.
A car scrappage scheme to boost UK vehicle sales was reported to be unlikely this week, quelling hopes of a subsidised shift towards electric cars. However, according to Calum MacRae, automotive analyst at data and analytics company GlobalData, such a move would benefit the country’s economy. “Just a few days ago, it seemed that a £6,000 new car purchase incentive scheme was close to being signed-off, but it looks like the Treasury is now considering a wider-ranging fiscal stimulus package that will forego specific incentives for the automotive sector.
France recently announced plans to inject more than €8bn into its automotive sector, a measure that Calum MacRae, automotive analyst at GlobalData, believes should be considered across Western Europe. The analyst has forecast that the region will “bear the brunt of a global industry that faces a near 20 per cent fall in volume in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19.” While it forecasts global industry to lose “nearly 16 million sales in 2020 compared with 2019, West Europe alone will account for more than a quarter of the decline.”
The government’s decision to include car showrooms in its first wave of of retail reopenings on 1 June has been welcomed by dealers. Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association stated: “Following our lobbying efforts where we highlighted it was vital to include dealerships in the first wave of non-essential retail reopening, it is positive that the Prime Minister has confirmed the Government intends to reopen car showrooms from 1 June.
The government has temporarily suspended the wrongful trading rules to ease the pressure on businesses. What do you need to know? Ordinarily, directors may become personally liable for a company’s debts if they allow the business to continue trading in the knowledge that it is unable to meet its debts and liabilities. This is called wrongful trading. However, the coronavirus outbreak has caused unexpected cash flow problems for many.
“We welcome the Chancellor’s update and extension to the furlough scheme, which will allow businesses to bring staff back to work on a part-time basis.” said Stuart James, chief executive of the Independent Garage Association (IGA). The IGA wrote to Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak on 29 April, requesting a partial furlough scheme that would allow employees to return to work part-time to support businesses throughout their reopening.
Following a budget that committed to the largest portfolio of inward investment in 30 years, on 14 May 2020 the UK Transport Secretary promised £1.7 billion for local road repairs and fast-tracked construction works worth £175 million while fewer passengers are using transport system. Hundreds-of-millions-of-pounds worth of upgrades have already been made to the nation’s road and rail networks during the lockdown period with more planned over the coming weeks and months. For the tyre industry, the new could also support flagging demand for OTR and off-road tyres used in such construction projects.
The Independent Garage Association (IGA) has requested an enhancement to the furlough scheme. It wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to request an alteration to the current scheme enabling employees to return to work partially as the country prepares for the next phase of lockdown restrictions.
On 27 March, National Franchised Dealers Association wrote to Kemi Badenoch MP, exchequer secretary to the Treasury, to seek clarifications on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, following the release of further details which have created confusion among employers. “We urge the Government to clarify its guidance on the Job Retention Scheme as the latest information is creating uncertainty in the sector”, said Sue Robinson, director of the NFDA.
The National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) has urged the government to support automotive retailers during the coronavirus outbreak and has recommended a range of measures to accomplish this. The organisation, which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, also expresses its willingness to discuss the matter further.
The PRA has sent the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, and the Right Honourable the Lord Tyrie, chairman of the CMA, the case for government intervention in the reform of unfair changes to ATM usage fees. Many other organisations have also raised their concerns, including the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the Association of Convenience Stores, and consumer group Which?
The SMMT released its UK passenger car registration figures for January shortly after the government announced its ambition to end the sale of all vehicles with an internal combustion engine, including HEVs and PHEVs, by 2035. In response to the announcement, the SMMT calls for caution. It points out that hybrids and plug-in hybrids are zero-emission capable, and therefore views both as vehicles not only bringing “significant environmental benefits today,” but also an “important stepping stone in helping motorists make the switch to a zero-emission vehicle.”