113k+ skilled UK jobs at risk as red tape threatens to strangle Classic Vehicle trade
New Trade Association will campaign to secure future of Great British Industry
700,000 owners of classic cars
1.54m historic vehicles aged 30 +
1.47m classic vehicles 15-30 years
‘The threat is clear. Classic cars, bikes and other vehicles could disappear from our roads – banished by legislation’
More than 100,000 jobs are in peril as a combination of bureaucracy and poorly focused environmental legislation threatens Britain’s world leading classic vehicle industry. With economic revival a top priority as the UK strives to recover from the Covid pandemic, highly-skilled engineers, restorers, craftsmen and parts suppliers face uncertainty over their livelihoods.
Leading figures in the classic vehicle industry fear complex new rules around exporting and importing cars and parts to and from the EU and widespread misunderstanding of the environmental impact of vintage motoring are damaging owners’ confidence and enthusiasm. They are calling on British Politicians and Regulators to use their post-Brexit regulatory independence to help grow this valuable sector of the economy.
They have formed a new trade association, the Historic and Classic Vehicles Alliance (HCVA), which launched in May, with a mission to protect and promote the sector and secure its long-term future.
The ‘not for profit’ organisation intends to campaign on behalf of individuals and companies in the classic vehicle world including specialist restorers, dealers, parts suppliers and a broad cross section of the multi-billion-pound industry. The sector’s contribution to the UK economy is huge. Annual turnover including substantial international trade is estimated at £18.3 billion, the three-million-strong British classic fleet is valued at over £12billion and annual tax revenue generated for the exchequer is close to £3 billion. Significantly, the industry is spread the length and breadth of the country, with clusters of specialists operating in the West Midlands, Lancashire, Kent and Sussex – and only 5% of activity based in London.
The trade, in which British craft skills and engineering excellence lead the world, supports around 113,000 jobs in thousands of specialist small businesses and supply chain firms. It also provides training places and apprenticeship schemes, giving opportunities to young people.
Sympathetic supporters of the new alliance include prominent politicians such as former transport minister and East Sussex MP Nus Ghani who has classic car trade firms in her constituency.
Nus Ghani said: ‘The classic and historic vehicle industry is a great British success story that gives pleasure to millions and it would be disastrous if it suffered serious damage through neglect or ignorance. We need to do all we can to support a sector that provides thousands of highly skilled and well-paid jobs in my constituency and across the UK and preserves exemplary skills and craftsmanship. We should be looking for ways to help businesses find solutions to problems and, now more than ever, we should be making it easier – not harder – for reputable high-quality companies to serve their customers. In the current economic climate we certainly can’t afford to risk letting valuable jobs die. The HCVA has my wholehearted backing.’
Legendary Formula 1 designer Professor Gordon Murray is also backing the HCVA. He said: ‘It has always been important to support individuals, companies and organisations that preserve our Automotive Heritage. The restoration and preservation of classic cars keeps our rich history in the automotive sector alive for future generations. As we move towards electrification and ever more stringent regulations, in my view it will become even more important to support and protect our classic automotive heritage.’
HCVA membership is open to businesses and individuals from across the sector including established dealers, marque specialists, restorers, parts specialists, competition preparers, importation and registration services, transport and storage specialists. The association will also welcome vehicle owners and enthusiasts as well as specialist auction businesses, historic racing and rallying organisations, classic car tours, concours and events organisers, museums, specialist insurers and car finance providers.