Brexit no barrier: McLaren & Aston Martin tipped for new heights
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British-based specialist car makers — including Aston Martin to McLaren — are on a high as wealthy buyers snap up British-built vehicles judged to be among the best in the world.
The 'boutique' manufacturers' success is proving that small is beautiful, but they are set to get bigger with a new industry report tipping production to soar by 60 per cent by 2020 thanks to ‘increasing global demand’.
And the 'buccaneering British spirit' will see the UK's specialist car companies through Brexit, the bosses of the UK's leading specialist car companies said.
The UK’s ‘low volume, high value’ car manufacturing sector is ‘the world’s largest, and growing’ with combined annual production set to hit 52,000 vehicles within three years, analysis by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has found.
Some 65 per cent of these vehicles are exported, and the SMMT expects sales and exports to take to the fast lane in the coming years, boosted by an increasing number of affluent buyers and new markets taking an increasing interest in performance driving and luxury models.
When asked about Brexit at the report launch, McLaren Automotive Line director Andy Palmer said: 'We'll manage it and move on. It's the British spirit.
'We have a plan and we're sticking to it'
He said the buccaneering attitude of smaller UK firms gave them an advantage. Meanwhile, the fall in the value of the pound since the vote to leave the EU has also boosted companies that export overseas - McLaren currently sells a third of its cars to Europe, a third to North America and a third to the rest of the world.
'We love Woking and we're intending to stay there. We're very much focussed on staying in the area and in the UK', said Palmer.
The firm employs more than 2,000 people and built more than 3,000 cars last year, with plans to expand to 5,000.
Over the last five years turnover in the UK's boutique car maker sector has increased by 52 per cent to £3.6billion (NZ$6.6billion) and employment by 11.5 per cent, creating some 11,250 mainly high-skilled jobs, plus tens of thousands more with suppliers.
‘Exports outside EU are continuing to rise, with growing demand for high performance vehicles in markets such as US and Asia key to low volume sector’s future growth,’ the report said.
Production has risen by 25 per cent over the period to 32,000 vehicles and is set to surge by 60 per cent to 52,000 by 2020, it forecast.
On average, around two thirds (65 per cent) of vehicle content comes from local suppliers, and a further 30 per cent from across the wider EU.
The car makers urged ministers to maintain a ‘competitive global environment’ to ensure the UK’s niche car makers will flourish after Brexit and continue to be ‘the envy of the world’.
Among those attending the report’s launch and displaying their cars at the SMMT’s headquarters in London were Aston Martin chief executive Andy Palmer, London Electric Vehicle Company chief executive Chris Gubbey, TVR boss Les Edgar, executives from McLaren Automotive. Industry and climate change Minister Claire Perry was also attending.
TVR boss Les Edgar said he was unfazed by Brexit: 'It's hardly cataclysmic. It's by no means the end of the world.
'It's a global market for us. I don't believe there will be a hard Brexit. I do think a deal will be struck.'
He added that TVR was exploring markets outside of Europe including Japan, the US and Australia.
- Daily Mail