SMMT sign CAAM co-op agreement

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) agreed a Co-operation Agreement with its Chinese counterpart, the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM).

The agreement was announced at a reception hosted by the Liam Fox MP, secretary of state for international trade and SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, and is designed to help develop mutual understanding and co-operation between both automotive industries to create new business opportunities.

China is the world’s largest automotive market, with more than 23 million new cars registered last year, and a key export destination for UK-made cars, behind only the EU and US. More than six per cent of all British-made models sent overseas in 2018 were shipped to China, with buyers attracted to the premium, luxury and sports marques made in this country, including Aston Martin, Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover, McLaren and MINI. At the same time over 10,000 Chinese-made cars were registered on UK roads.

While the UK is Europe’s fourth largest automotive manufacturer, producing 1.52 million cars in 2018, China is by far the biggest globally, producing more than 23 million cars in the same period. Production has increased dramatically across the last decade, up 248% since 2008, with an ever-increasing number of new energy vehicles (NEVs), including battery electric and plug-in hybrid models made – totalling some 1.27 million last year.

Future challenges to the automotive industry are no longer local issues – they are shared across global borders. Addressing air pollution and climate change, the rapid shift to electric and alternatively fuelled vehicles and the rise of increasingly connected and autonomous cars – all seismic issues the sector is confronting here and abroad.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ‘The UK’s doors are well and truly open for business with key global partners such as China. Both nations have leading reputations in automotive engineering and production and this agreement builds on an already strong relationship with scope to open up new business opportunities in both markets.’

Fu Bingfeng, executive vice chairman and secretary general of CAAM, said, ‘China and the UK have a long history of co-operation in the automotive industry, which has yielded fruitful results and established a profound friendship. Our new co-operation with SMMT is helpful so we can learn from each other and expand investment and collaboration in a wide range of areas based on existing joint projects.’