UK car industry - Collos25
Peugeot are closing shop,rumour on the street in Germany is that Renault and BMW are looking for a place to relocate Nissan and Mini on mainland Europe ,Ford are saying if Land Rover does not improve its curtains and Jaguar are losing money hand over fist.The UK government tried to keep the PSA closure a secret till after the local elections but it was released in both the French and German press.Do you think we will be making cars in ten years I wonder.
UK car industry - Armitage Shanks {p}
I guess Honda and Toyota will still be working, their infra structure in so vast.
UK car industry - horse
Peugeot are closing shop,rumour on the street in Germany is that
Renault and BMW are looking for a place to relocate Nissan
and Mini on mainland Europe ,Ford are saying if Land Rover
does not improve its curtains and Jaguar are losing money hand
over fist.The UK government tried to keep the PSA closure a
secret till after the local elections but it was released in
both the French and German press.Do you think we will be
making cars in ten years I wonder.


Definitely NOT - every type of car making except maybe one offs and kit cars assembled to order will be much cheaper elsewhere. Even Eastern European factories will find things hard if there is real competition from china (VW already make cars in china... For the chinese market only I think, but could easily see how this can change once Europeans accept manufacturing is in terminal decline and won't "adapt" or whatever they try to tell us).

whats going to happen to all that chinese manufacturing capacity once every chinese family has 2 cars...
UK car industry - Thommo
Well without dragging this topic too far off topic:

No manufacturing in any part of EU including the new entrants after Brussels has enforced all the red tape regulations.

No technical jobs. Example. My brother is the MD of a major US engineering company. He has 2,000 (repeat 2,000) engineers working for him in India. They are all employed through a contractor. The charge is $10 per hour all in. He is based in Chicago. He says if he could even find 2,000 engineers in US the cost would be at least ten times that amount when salary/health care/pensions were all added up.

No service jobs either. Example. If you own a firm of accountants you can sign a deal today whereby you scan and transmit all relevant documents to India, they will do all the work including UK statutory accounts and tax comps and charge an agreed 25% of what you charge your client. They send the completed work back you print it out on your letterhead and your client is none the wiser.

Hard times ahead.
UK car industry - type's'
I hate to say it but I agree with Thommo (not because it's Thommo but because it is a sad fact). Even though under Japanese Management, the UK Car Plants are some of the most efficient (with best quality) in the world (Nissan Sunderland / Toyota Burnaston / Honda Swindon) but cost will be a factor. I was looking at a BBC website article about auto factory labour costs and although it did not mention UK rates West Germany was 26 euros and hour with a list of countris down to Slovak republic at 3.3 euros an hour. I think any new future factories will be built in eastern europe and BIC (Brazil / India / China) countries.
Having said that Honda have just announced they will be building the diesel engine in Swindon now which is excellent news. The Japanese do think long term though and will understand that there is more to just cost to consider when closing factories so I do not envisage the Japs closing any factories in the UK.
UK car industry - Thommo
There is an old and probably apocryphal story that goes as follows:

Henry Ford. This machine will automate car making so I will need less workers. It doesn't go on strike ask for higher wages take tea breaks or need a health plan.

Employee. How many cars does it buy?

At the end of the day if we have no jobs and no money we can't buy anything. Maybe the Japanese are sufficiently long sighted to see this but everyone else? Who knows?
UK car industry - horse
Isn't the idea that we all just become property developers, which makes all property highly sought after and expensive, and then people in the third world do and make everything for us without us having to concern ourselves with how it all works.
UK car industry - Lounge Lizard
Henry Ford. This machine will automate car making so I
will need less workers. It doesn't go on strike ask
for higher wages take tea breaks or need a health plan.
Employee. How many cars does it buy?

>>

Henry Ford. Don't be silly, machines don't need cars. However they still generate wealth that other people can spend on cars. And those former workers can re-train as nurses or teachers.

UK car industry - Sofa Spud
There is no real British motor industry - just foreign owned manufacturers building cars here. But then I suppose if Ford and Vauxhall have long been accepted as part of the British motor indusry then perhaps Toyota, Nissan etc, should be.

In the Thatcher era, 'inward investment' was seen as a good thing but it was just a passing phase in what could better be described as 'portable investment'.

Am I right in assuming that there is no 'proper' British car make left, large or small, that is British owned, British designed, and built here with all major components including engine etc. made in-house. TVR might be the closest but isn't that Russian owned?

UK car industry - blue_haddock
Am I right in assuming that there is no 'proper' British
car make left, large or small, that is British owned, British
designed, and built here with all major components including engine etc.
made in-house. TVR might be the closest but isn't that
Russian owned?


Yep TVR are now the play thing of a russion bloke but Morgan are still totally british and totally set in their ways!
UK car industry - Stuartli
Even though under Japanese Management, the UK Car Plants are some of the most efficient (with best quality) in the world>>


Which is precisely why they are some of the most efficient in the world.

In fact Nissan was often quoted as at the very least equalling Japanese plants quality and, in many cases, bettering it.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
UK car industry - AlastairW
Yes, Thommo, I know the Indian accountancy service you are talking about. Having used it (twice), it was RUBBISH, both times. The staff may well be fully qualified, but have no practical experience of British bookkeeping, IME
UK car industry - Stuartli
The British car industry is still producing many, many thousands of cars, but the majority are built in comparatively recent plants in contrast to the Ryton factory, which is around 60 or more years old.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
UK car industry - Stuartli
PS

Europe is producing more cars than the market will take.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
UK car industry - Aprilia
A lot of people have too much of a fixation with labour costs and don't really understand the economics of the car industry. Its far too early to be writing the obituary for European car production.
First of all, employment within the sector will fall in Europe. But that's mainly because of a move toward more automated and capital intensive production.
Secondly, car production in China is pretty small beer at the moment and is likely to remain so for at least a couple of decades. Costs of car production in China are actually relatively high - their supply chain logistics are very poor. CSM Worldwide (a motor industry consultancy with a base in China) produced a report late last year detailing car production costs in China and they weren't much lower than in the US...Labour is only a small part of the equation when you are dealing with highly automated plants only employing a couple of thousand workers. Remember that Japan has just about the highest paid car workers in the world, but also amongst the lowest per-vehicle production costs.
Thirdly, don't overlook trading tarifs. Hyundai are thought of as a low cost Korean manufacturer, but their most popular US-market model (Sonata)is built in Alabama with over 80% local content. The US-market Toytota Camry is now considered an 'American' car - built in the US, it has over 95% local content. All this to dodge US import tarifs and thus remain competitive.
Finally, labour costs are likely to rise in countries like India and China as these countries become more affluent; their price competitiveness is only going to decline over the next few years. This will be especially true if China allows the Renminbi to float - which would probably destory Chinese competitiveness at a stroke. Not only that, but labour unrest is likely to spread, especially if labour shortages grow (as is the case in the industrial sector in southern China). Currently 'free' trade unions are banned in China - how long will that sitation last?

The UK has its own problems related to car manufacture. But these are more to do with poor infrastructure and relative isolation from Europe than wage rates (which only really have a big impact on sub-£10k A/B cars). If I were looking to locate a car plant in Europe I'd be looking for somewhere with good transportation infrastructure, close to major markets, a well educated workforce and membership (or intended membership) of the Euro - the UK wouldn't be high on my list.

I think the prospects for Western Europe are actually relatively good. Although we tend to think mostly about the actual vehicle assembly, a lot of the jobs and most of the technology is in the component supply. Currently the 'developed' countries have a bit of a stranglehold on this. Even the Koreans (who have been in the car making game for quite a while now) still buy in or licence Japanese components (mainly from Mitsubishi) for most of their cars.
UK car industry - Thommo
Alastair,

THE service?

If you get a copy of Accountancy magazine (I get one free as part of my membership of ICAEW) you will find adverts from some 100+ adverts from Indian firms.
UK car industry - ukbeefy
My understanding from reading about the chinese motor plants is that nobody there including VW is actually making money from building cars there. It is all a fight for future market share. Happy to be proved wrong if someone has accurate figures.

What always baffles me is the fact that some simple things seem to be still manufactured in the UK (eg Addis kitchen bins) whereas laptops are now screwed together in China...

Services that can be done remotely are prone to being done at a distance so the accountancy thing is not difficult to believe...however alot of other stuff is still face to face or close to market....eg healthcare, marketing, design, etc
UK car industry - Aprilia
My understanding from reading about the chinese motor plants is that
nobody there including VW is actually making money from building cars
there. It is all a fight for future market share. Happy
to be proved wrong if someone has accurate figures.
What always baffles me is the fact that some simple things
seem to be still manufactured in the UK (eg Addis kitchen
bins) whereas laptops are now screwed together in China...
Services that can be done remotely are prone to being done
at a distance so the accountancy thing is not difficult to
believe...however alot of other stuff is still face to face or
close to market....eg healthcare, marketing, design, etc


Yes, the Chinese are not going to be able to cut our hair remotely or give someone a pedicure. The way to reduce face-to-face service costs is to bring in low-cost labour from overseas (which is what the government and CBI are keen on).
I am all for exporting accountacy and legal work overseas though - hopefully this might reduce the extortionate costs that the UK faces from these 'closed shop' professions and open them up to some genuine competition of the sort that the manufacturing sector has faced for decades.

As regards stuff made in China, its a fact that about 70% of the value of Chinese exports is originally imported to China. For example, if you think about a laptop then the casing and the assembly work will be Chinese, but it will probably contain high-tech components imported from Japan and the US. Thus the (say) £500 Chinese export laptop actually represents £150 of Chinese added value and £350 worth of non-Chinese components.
UK car industry - Stuartli
>>whereas laptops are now screwed together in China...>>

Taiwan actually. In fact Taiwan produces most of the original and OEM laptops bought throughout the world; that also applies to about 65 per cent of the digital cameras produced, including those for the big Japanese brand names.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
UK car industry - horse
I think you're very right to point out the tariffs as a barrier to cheap imports from china -- The chinese can lobby as much as they like for tariff reductions, but the EU and US are alwyas generally going to win the fight because they "own" the WTO.

Don't think the chinese will stop supressing unions or informal organised labour of any sort. Remember their society is super tightly controlled, to the point that the state infiltrates the factories with 'spies'. Also I doubt they will float the renminbi, as it stands they have huge foreign currency reserves, and as a centrally planned economy, they can cheekily use the foreign reserves to pay for imports, while benefiting from the set value of the renminbi. Most other countries are too locked into monetary system to play the system like this.
UK car industry - horse
(Refers to Aprilla's 1st post)
UK car industry - SteVee
The UK owned car industry does appear to be extinct.
However, we once thought that the UK motorcycle industry was dead and buried.
Triumph motorcycles have proved that it is possible for a British owned company to design, build and sell in a world market.
I don't see it happening in the car market though - unfortunately.
UK car industry - Cyd
One of the factors many seem to be overlooking is that the Slovac government has built Peugeot a nice new plant to build its 207 in. As 206 volumes fall in favour of 207, 206 production lines will close.

It isn't just production capacity that's at risk. R+D is relatively expensive in the UK too. The only serious R+D left here is at Jag/LR and they are letting people leave at a slow but steady rate. Also most suppliers have moved their operations abroad to the LCCs (or at least back to their base countries). With the demise of Rover (and TWR before it) there is now an overcapacity of Automotive Engineers chasing fewer jobs. This includes me. I'm seriously considering retraining.
UK car industry - Altea Ego
There is one reason reason that western auto firms are working with the chinese. If they dont the chinese will simply copy and steal the design(s) and sell them cheaply abroad.

Also the market for cars in china - will at some time *explode* into life when they turn big time consumers.


------------------------------
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
UK car industry - edster
The UK car industry has been doomed for many years, if
not decades - as one poster pointed out, the only
survivers of this period will be the specialists.
It is a great pity that we have seen the likes of
Bentley and Landrover fall into foreign hands, especially
as such companies are the pinncacle of UK automotive
engineering.
In a wider sense, these occurances make you doubt the
principles of the free market. Could government intervention
have saved the UK car manufacturers?
There are a number of key aspects to consider in analysing the disintegration of Rover et al.
1: British cars are not built to a sufficiently high
standard.
2. Europe dictates that 'Buy British' style campaigns
are now illegal.
3. Even if the above was not the case, only a certain
clientelle would buy British - eg: those not 'well up' on
matters of auto-engineering, or people with a limited amount of
cash who still liked the idea of a new car.

I have no stats to offer, but it seems to me that Rover's
biggest market was the Blue Rinse Brigade - lovely people no doubt, but not the answer to an economic prayer!

In any case, these problems are synomenous with wider problems. The UK is against the wall with the rise of Chinese dominance - we can't compete with their paltry labour costs.
The areas we can compete in are build quality - if we do things properly at least, and 'status symbol' areas of the market.
Think about it - Lexus for example, will never hack it against
Merc, or BMW, because at the end of the day its a Toyota with a
different badge - no class.
Compound this with the fact that the Germans (on the whole) make good cars and they are relatively safe in their market - although they should not be complacent.
If Ford do offload LR, lets hope a Brit buys the company!
UK car industry - No FM2R
>>Landrover......especially as such companies are the pinncacle of UK automotive engineering.

[shudder]. Sadly, I think you're right. Landrover, at the point it became "foreign", was the pinncacle of UK automotive engineering.

Quite where that left the others though........
UK car industry - edster
yes, that's a very valid point.
I've had a few solihul products over the years and they are prone to rattles, things breaking etc etc. Although, LR do have a huge following and thankfully up until recently they were very, very easy to fix. -- the last 2 LRs I had were a MOD 90 and a classic Range Rover - my tool kit for these comprised an unfathomably large Bahco and a small sledge-hammer...

I would agree wholeheartedly that the build quality has been dire, and still is to a degree. As a 'tool' though, they take some beating - and, once when I was playing with the idea of going Jap, I was put off by the price of parts.
I can get a 90 front bumper for c £20. The plasticy stuff attached to a HiLux used to be approaching £200 vat, god only knows what they are nowadays..

UK car industry - Stuartli
>>Landrover, at the point it became "foreign", was the pinncacle of UK automotive engineering.>>

Design wise yes, build quality no.

Too many new employees taken on by the hundred at regular intervals, hence a drop in build quality as demand exceeded supply.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
What\'s for you won\'t pass you by
UK car industry - Aprilia
There is one reason reason that western auto firms are working
with the chinese. If they dont the chinese will simply copy
and steal the design(s) and sell them cheaply abroad.
Also the market for cars in china - will at some
time *explode* into life when they turn big time consumers.


I've been to China and been to a few automotive component suppliers over there. The Western Companies are keeping a tight grip on the IPR, believe me.

In the auto industry everybody is watching and trying to copy everyone else. Its not so easy to successfully copy though - the timescales etc mean that by the time you've reverse engineered and debugged someone elses design the whole market has moved on.
UK car industry - Aprilia
It isn't just production capacity that's at risk. R+D is relatively
expensive in the UK too. The only serious R+D left here
is at Jag/LR and they are letting people leave at a
slow but steady rate. Also most suppliers have moved their operations
abroad to the LCCs (or at least back to their base
countries). With the demise of Rover (and TWR before it) there
is now an overcapacity of Automotive Engineers chasing fewer jobs. This
includes me. I'm seriously considering retraining.


I'm surprised you say R&D is relatively expensive in the UK. You may be right - I'm not sure - but it certainly doesn't arise from UK engineers' pay.

Incidentally, have you thought about working in Germany? Lots of opportunities there and the pay is pretty good (especially compared to somewhere like LR). It helps if you can speak some German, but many companes use English as a 'working language'.
UK car industry - Lud
I hope this will work. For those terrified of Chinese dominance, here are a couple of pictures. It'll come, but not for say 5 years or perhaps a few more.

img167.imageshack.us/img167/1387/att000618is.jpg
img190.imageshack.us/img190/1874/att000674tl.jpg
img190.imageshack.us/img190/1628/att000733vj.jpg
UK car industry - Chris S
Labour cost is just one factor - they've still got to transport the things here as Rover found out with the City Rover.
UK car industry - Hamsafar
Latest runour is that the curtains will start to close on Vauxhall Ellesmere port on Wednesday 17th.
Arrangements are being made for government ministers to make a press statement there and pretend to be bothered alongside useless union leaders.
Crocodile Tears. Crocodile Tears.
UK car industry - Xileno {P}
Protectionism is the answer.
UK car industry - Aprilia
What puzzles me is why capacity is always shut down in the UK - aren't we supposed to offer 'flexible' labour with 'low social costs'? Although there has been some capacity reduction in W. Europe (and also some new capacity built - which tends not to get reported) their industry is in more bouyant form.

I know why this is of course - unfortunately it doesn't fit the prevailing ideology in this country at the moment. 'Blatcherism' just isn't working.......
UK car industry - Hamsafar
I think the UK is heading for a collosal crash, it's 130 Bn in debt to foreign countries such as China, the state effectively printed money that didn't exist by forcing house prices to quadruple in a few years and encouraged people to get secured loans on these inflated house prices. I think it's fast coming the time when we will have to pay this all back, we had our 10 years of new cars and home improvements, while the government sneakily took away our rights while we were kept entertained. This could hit the residuals of used cars.
UK car industry - Aprilia
Too right. But don't anyone blame the government. British are too greedy, always wanting something for nothing and always in awe of money. Look at all these property development programmes on TV - buy yourself a couple of houses and make £100k in a couple of years. Only suckers do difficult things like science/engineering and work 40+ hours a week. Someone tarts up a couple of houses and makes a quick £50k and he's a 'property developer' - a national hero. Single mum works in a council care home for £13k a year and she's a skiving public sector worker with an inflated pension to look forward to. Values are all wrong.
UK car industry - cub leader
so my engineering degree will not make me a fortune then? DOH!!
--
Temporarily not a student, where did the time go???
UK car industry - Falkirk Bairn
so my engineering degree will not make me a fortune then?
DOH!!


It all depends on the type of your Engineering Degree and what industry you work in. Big demand currently for Process Engineers in oil hence bigger wages.

Chemical Engineer - 8-10 yrs experience working in oil might be making £40K-£80K / year as a 30 -32 yr old.

Big difference also if you work for an Oil Company or a Oil Contractor.

Working for oil support contractor £40,000
Working for an Oil Company £50,000+
Working as a Self Employed Contractor to an oil company £75,000+

Same Chemical Engineer but works in Water (say) £30-£40K

So not only have you to choose the right Engineering Degree to maximise your earning power but you have to choose the industry
and the right employer in that industry.

I suppose the car industry is similar
UK car industry - mike hannon
'Flexible labour with low social costs' is exactly why British labour is always first to be sacrificed...
The other side of the coin, of course, is that Britain's relative workforce flexibility means the jobs might come back before long...might.
UK car industry - L'escargot
I'm surprised you say R&D is relatively expensive in the UK.
You may be right - I'm not sure - but
it certainly doesn't arise from UK engineers' pay.


Dead right Aprilia. My experience of working in automotive R&D in the UK for a company that has a sister company in Germany (both owned by an American based multinational) is that R&D in the UK is run on a shoe-string, both wages and facilities. No wonder we can't match German products for excellence of design.
--
L\'escargot.
UK car industry - Collos25
Looks like Vauxhall is going, who will be next?
UK car industry - Altea Ego
Let me see

British car worker, rumour of cutbacks, what does he do?

Well of course - he goes on strike.


You just sealed the fate of your jobs guys. Smart move.
------------------------------
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
UK car industry - CTG Drew
Well of course we are going through as many problems in America. I don?t pretend to be an economic expert on the auto industry but everyone knows the main problem is between the unions and the lack of public healthcare in the USA. The unions want the auto makers to pay it and the auto makers that are already losing billions can?t afford to pay it. And our government acts as if they don?t care if the USA loses all of its auto manufacturing jobs to other countries.

We already have the Chevy Equinox/ Pontiac Torrent which is built in Canada and uses a Chinese made engine! Yet GM actually calls the car ?An American Revolution? in the commercials! LOL

Well at first I thought it was funny, but then I just thought it was sad?
UK car industry - CTG Drew
LONDON (MarketWatch) -- U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown may visit a General Motors plant outside of Liverpool, England amid indications the automaker is close to a decision to lay off 1,000 employees.


www.marketwatch.com/News/Story/Story.aspx?guid=%7B...o
UK car industry - Aprilia
Let me see
British car worker, rumour of cutbacks, what does he do?
Well of course - he goes on strike.
You just sealed the fate of your jobs guys. Smart move.



I suspect their fate was sealed before they even knew it.

These guys are just ordinary working people. They are probably striking because its the only thing in their power to do - and it keeps the story active in the media. I guess you'd rather they all hang their heads and go quietly?
UK car industry - Altea Ego
I would rather they didnt reinforce everyone elses view of the british car worker.


------------------------------
TourVanMan TM < Ex RF >
UK car industry - Aprilia
I would rather they didnt reinforce everyone elses view of the
british car worker.


Who's view? Its not my view, nor that of most others in the industry. Red Robbo was almost 30 years ago. Not much wrong now with UK car industry productivity or strike record (in fact its rather better than many countries, including places like S. Korea!). Maybe if UK labour weren't so 'flexible' and the UK had joined the Euro then we wouldn't be hit first when it comes to cutbacks.
UK car industry - CTG Drew
8< SNIP 8<

Sorry CTG Drew, but as the Associated Press suggest, their material may not be published - etc etc, so I've subsequently had to remove it. The link you've provided gives all the info you previously posted though. DD


© 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12829933/
UK car industry - stunorthants
Bristol is still british owned isnt it? Was in an article a few months ago.
 

Ask Honest John

Value my car