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Buying British and low emission makes sense, post Brexit

THE UK automotive manufacturing sector had yet another brilliant year last year, according to figures from the industry body, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The UK car industry grew profits by 7.3 per cent and added 17,000 jobs. Vehicle production grew by 5.2 per cent to 1.7million units, with turnover a whopping £71.6billion.

What staggered me was the employment figures, with 814,000 people dependent in some way on the car industry and with 169,000 involved in the direct manufacture of cars, an 8000 increase over 2014.

Quite what the impact will be of the recent Brexit vote to leave the European Union is not clear.

Whatever happens, it is widely accepted that there will be a slowdown as negotiations take place and new deals are done.

This cannot be good for profits or the people working in the industry or the short to medium-term job security.

What struck me, on my recent holiday to the US, was that few UK-made cars are in evidence. America buys American.

It is also well known that the French buy French and the Germans buy German, yet we buy a right old mixture of domestic, European and Asian vehicles, and the odd beast from America.

What is clear is that more than three-quarters of a million jobs depend upon our car industry. If we, the UK, started to focus on buying cars made in the UK, the prospects would be more certain and jobs protected.

Nissan Leaf manufacture

It’s perhaps a nonsense, I don’t know, but we have a certain amount of control over the coming years, as exit negotiations take place.

We can minimise the negative commercial impacts with some simple changes to our buying behaviour.

From small hand-built marques like Morgan to the behemoths of mass production such as Honda, MINI, Jaguar Land Rover and Vauxhall, the UK makes a huge contribution to the automotive world.

We wanted out of Europe and all it brings. Brexit will bring it’s share of challenges.

Let’s stay productive and prosperous, though, and not cut off our noses to spite our faces.

Buy British made. I have. Will you?