UK automotive: Seeking new opportunities in an uncertain world

The UK's automotive manufacturers face a challenging future as the industry embraces significant change. Santander's Sean Edwards reports.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) set out its priorities to assure the UK automotive industry’s future success - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
Government’s pledge to transition to a low-carbon economy has contributed to increased uncertainty – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

Businesses, especially those that form the complex supply chains for a range of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), are understandably seeking clarity on the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU.

The publication of the UK government’s Brexit white paper has been met positively by parts of the industry, however there is collective agreement that there is hard work ahead in agreeing the position with Europe.

In addition, the UK government’s pledge to transition to a low-carbon economy, and move away from conventional petrol and diesel vehicles to models with lower carbon emissions has contributed to increased uncertainty and a dip in business and consumer confidence.

Amid the uncertainty, however, there are opportunities in new markets and major OEMs are investing significantly to configure their operations and implement plans to produce the next generation of hybrid and pure electric vehicles.

Unlocking international trade

Santander recently hosted a delegation of British automotive businesses on a trade mission to Slovakia, a country with a strong industrial heritage. Significant investment in the market from automotive OEMs and the supply chain has created a stable base and ample opportunity for UK businesses.

As a bank, Santander runs a programme of dedicated trade missions to overseas markets that have ranged from Poland, the United States, Latin America, the Middle East and China.

Delegates on the Slovakian visit had the chance to meet and present to a number of OEMs and supply chain companies from across the country to explore potential business opportunities.

Santander recently hosted a delegation of British automotive businesses on a trade mission to Slovakia - image courtesy of Santander.
Santander recently hosted a delegation of British automotive businesses on a trade mission to Slovakia – image courtesy of Santander.

The trade mission took place in early June and delegates heard from and met with several market and sector experts on the practicalities of doing business in the country, as well as experienced factory visits to suppliers located in close proximity to the new JLR plant at Nitra.

For automotive firms, establishing additional operations or doing business with countries such as Slovakia is recognition of a market where an increasing volume of car manufacturing is taking place.

Santander’s international network of banking partners, our in-depth local market knowledge, as well as services like our Trade Portal – which offers access to a database of 194,000 importers and 30,000 suppliers all over the world – all contribute to supporting UK businesses to unlock opportunities in new and existing overseas markets.

Santander is here to make the relevant introductions, lay the groundwork, and ensure that the process of expanding overseas is as straightforward and painless as possible.

Santander Trade Portal and trade missions are available to Santander Corporate and Commercial customers.

For further information on how we can help your business visit: santandercb.co.uk


Sean Edwards, UK Head of Automotive, Rail & Marine, Santander Corporate & CommercialSean Edwards, UK Head of Automotive, Rail & Marine, Santander Corporate & Commercial

A recent appointment to Santander, Sean Edwards leads the three key sub-sectors of Automotive, Rail & Marine within the Manufacturing sector team at Santander UK. Sean brings both Manufacturing and International experience having previously worked at the Department for International Trade (DIT), in both the UK and overseas, and within SME supply chain manufacturing.

Santander is the headline sponsor of The Manufacturer MX Awards 2018 – the year’s largest celebration of UK manufacturing:

>