Motor Industry May Struggle With Engine Ban

Thu 30th Jul 2020

A leading figure in the UK motor industry has warned the government that any move to bring forward a ban on combustion engine sales won’t get support from the manufacturers.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said that the current date of 2035 may be ‘just about’ acceptable to the industry, but any plans for a so-called ‘faster transition’ may meet opposition.

In recent months the government has hinted that it may want to bring forward the data, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps openly discussing a 2032 date. But speaking at the Autocar Business Live event, Mike Hawes urged caution. He said: “The government’s made clear it wants to bring forward its 2040 date. I think the majority of the industry could just about make 2035. I think earlier than that you would struggle to get support for.

“The diversity of UK industry will mean some companies will struggle. It’s about how quickly the market will transition and that’s dependent on how attractive the product proposition is, how much it costs and in particular what the infrastructure is.”

Hawes warned of the social, industrial and commercial consequences of bringing forward any bans, with the consumers likely to drive the debate, dependent on how costly the alternative, electric vehicles, might be.

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