I can pretend that the big news of the week has been Nissan’s decision to pull out of manufacturing the X-Trail in Sunderland, allegedly breaking an agreement with the government. But I won’t, even though its ramifications will be widespread. Because I suspect that the damage that has already been done by the Brexit debate has clearly signalled what is going to happen to car manufacturing in the UK over the next 10 years.
I could suggest that the investment by Amazon in Aurora, a self driving car start-up (notice how they really never invest in existing manufacturers, the technology is so new, the thinking so different that they seem to steer clear of our industry) with $530 million, no small sum, will be the one that will have the biggest impact. And in time, like everything else that Amazon has already done, it could well be.
But the big news so far today, at least, is the announcement that JLR made a thumping £3.4 billion loss in the last quarter of last year. Now okay, there were some technical reasons for this – they wrote down the value of their estate and their technology by most of that. However in trading terms they still lost nearly £300 million, which caused the write-down and everything else.
Obviously we are all hoping for a significant change in direction in markets over the next few years, because the current status quo is not sustainable. Global trade wars, trading blocs like the EU beginning to fracture, Chinese market beginning to plummet (still, at least that’s only a quarter of the world’s population) European neighbours falling out with each other over yellow vest protesters. You look anywhere and the news is not good. And if I look through the headlines of the major business papers, the only good news stories in our sector pretty only come from new entrants, not from the existing players. Headwinds pretty well everywhere.
Have a great weekend, be careful though, there are headwinds in the weather forecast too.
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For most men life is a search for the proper manila envelope in which to get themselves filed.
Clifton Fadiman (1904 – 1999)
If you make people think they’re thinking, they’ll love you; But if you really make them think, they’ll hate you.
Don Marquis (1878 – 1937)
Procrastination isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. So procrastinate now, don’t put it off.
Have the courage to be ignorant of a great number of things, in order to avoid the calamity of being ignorant of everything.
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