Published on May 28th, 2020 | by Subhash Nair0
The British Car Industry in Big Trouble… Again
The British car industry never quite seems to have its act together and the coronavirus pandemic proves nothing has changed for the island-nation’s automotive industry. While German-owned British brands like Lotus, MINI, Rolls Royce and Bentley seem to be doing okay under Geely, BMW Group and VW Group, the same cannot be said about some other British marques. Japanese marques with major production plants in the UK like Honda, Nissan and Toyota have been relatively quiet during this crisis.
Jaguar Land Rover
Jaguar Land Rover have not been doing well in the last few years, and the coronavirus pandemic has only made things worse for the brand. Just a few days ago, Sky News reported that Jaguar Land Rover were seeking more than £1 billion in loans from the British government to get it through the COVID-19 crisis. JLR is owned by Tata Motors with their Chinese subsidiary being co-owned by Chery Motors. Jaguar Land Rover has some 38,000 staff at their Castle Bromwich, Solihull and Halewood production sites.
McLaren Automotive are in quite a bad way as well. The brand may have to revise their Track25 strategy as future launches look to be jeopardised by the slump in global sales. In mid May, the BBC said the company was willing to mortgage their Woking factory and even their collection of historical vehicles in exchange for a US$365 million loan. Now it’s said that company will downsize their operations by firing 1,200 employees, mostly in the UK.
Another British marque that’s in hot soup is Aston Martin. They posted losses of around £119 million. In late April, Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll took a 20% stake of the brand. After some back and forth behind the scenes, it was decided that President and Group Chief Executive Dr Andy Palmer would be replaced by Tobias Moers as CEO. Tobias Moers leaves his job at Mercedes-AMG, where he spent the last 7 years doubling the product portfolio and quadrupling sales.
About the British Automotive Industry
- In 2018, it had a turnover of £82 billion and generated £18.6 billion in value to the UK economy
- Around 1.5 million passenger vehicles and 85,000 commercial vehicles were made in the UK annually
- 168,000 are directly and 823,000 are indirectly working in the automotive industry there
- The UK went from being the 2nd largest automobile manufacturer in the world in the 1950s to the 12th largest by 2008