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Automotive News – Early January 2024

Estimated reading time 5 minutes

The UK and EU have agreed to extend trade rules on electric vehicles until the end of 2026 to keep costs down for manufacturers and consumers, the Prime Minister has announced today (Thursday 21 December).

To access zero tariffs under the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), businesses must prove their products include a minimum level of EU or UK manufactured content. These requirements are known as “rules of origin” and help determine where products originate rather than where they’re shipped from to ensure lower tariffs are correctly applied to eligible products and support market competition.

Under the existing Trade and Cooperation Agreement, a staged approach was introduced for electric vehicles and batteries which required phased increases in these rules of origin requirements – with the first increase due to take effect on 1 January 2024, before a final increase from 1 January 2027.

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Toyota-owned carmaker Daihatsu has closed all four of its plants until the end of January, after admitting it had falsified safety tests.  Daihatsu admitted that it had been manipulating safety tests on 64 makes for three decades.  Its headquarters in Osaka, Japan was the last to close, on 25 December.

The scandal puts in jeopardy 9,000 workers in the country and could affect global car giant Toyota’s reputation.  Of the 64 models involved in the scandal, 24 are sold with Toyota branding.

The closure of its Osaka plant follows closures in its production lines in Oita, Shiga and Kyoto prefectures.

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80% of new cars and 70% of new vans sold in Great Britain will now be zero emission by 2030, increasing to 100% by 2035. The UK now has the most ambitious regulatory framework for the switch to electric vehicles of any country in the world, thanks to new laws which commenced today (3 January 2024). Following extensive consultation with industry and manufacturers, the mandate provides them with the certainty they have called for to safeguard skilled British jobs

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The number of electric cars sold reached record levels last year, but their share of the market did not increase, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

It means electric vehicles (EVs) failed to improve market share for the first time since 2018, raising concerns over green pledges.  The figures have sparked calls for tax cuts to boost uptake among buyers.

After years of disruption caused by the pandemic and a shortage of vital computer chips, the overall market for new cars is growing rapidly, with 1.9 million vehicles registered in 2023 – just under 18% more than in the previous 12 months.  But EVs accounted for 16.5% of new vehicles sold in the UK last year — down slightly from the 16.6% purchased in 2022.

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New research has revealed that battery electric vehicle (BEV) uptake reached a record high with more than 300,000 new registrations in 2023, with business fleets spurring demand for low-carbon transport.  This is according to Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) data on new car registrations.

The UK’s new car market had its strongest year since the pandemic, with 1.903 million new cars hitting the roads in 2023—a 17.9% increase driven entirely by fleet investment.

Drivers heavily invested in low and zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), resulting in a 2.2% reduction in the average CO2 emissions of new cars, down to 108.9 g/km.

Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) grew by 27.1% and secured a 12.6% market share. Plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) also had a strong year, with registrations up by 39.3%, representing 7.4% of the market.

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Luxury car manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), has seen sales volumes accelerate in the third quarter period, ending December 31, 2023.

The group, which has production plants at Halewood in Merseyside and Solihull and Castle Bromwich in the West Midlands, said the figures reflect improvements in supply as more vehicles were delivered to clients.

Wholesale volumes in the period were 101,043 units (excluding the Chery Jaguar Land Rover China JV), up 27% compared with the same quarter a year ago and up four per cent compared with the quarter ended September 30, 2023.

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Firefighting vehicle manufacturer, North Fire Engineering, has unveiled its 12,000 sq ft new manufacturing facility in Mytholmroyd, which was commissioned over the Christmas period.

It follows confirmation at the end of 2023 of industry stalwart Oliver North’s acquisition of Venari Group’s firefighting division and subsequent rebrand to North Fire.  The manufacturer says it will begin firefighting vehicle production immediately.

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Rolls-Royce Motor Cars enjoyed a highly successful year in 2023, with strong sales and demand for its products in markets worldwide.

In 2023, the car manufacturer’s bespoke commissions reached new record levels by both value and number; the technical innovations required to deliver specific projects saw Rolls-Royce file a number of new patents during the year.

In 2023, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars delivered a total of 6,032 cars to clients around the world, more than in any other year in the marque’s 119-year history.

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