Two big stories in the press this week, one shock. First of all, Ford announced the closure of it Bridgend plant, which was not a shock. The fact that it is to close in 2020 was a bit of a surprise, many thought it may run on a year more than that. Nevertheless, the company is having to dump jobs globally as it copes with automotive’s transition from an engineering to an electronics industry.

Just a week after having announced a potential merger, FCA and Renault did shock us all with a very public split. The blame game has started, with many blaming the French government for putting a spoke in the wheels. Analysts, however, reckon that FCA is still extremely well-placed to merge with somebody, their fit is particularly good, while Renault in particular will suffer badly. The Financial Times reported that the final straw was a French minister travelling to Japan to try and smooth over the rift in the Renault and Nissan relationship.

Finally this week, I would like to concentrate on what is potentially the automotive sector’s biggest problem. Analysts are predicting that the industry is facing massive fines next year. With the next round of WLTP regulations set to impact, and manufacturers having to reduce the CO2 emissions by substantial amounts, many predict they will fall woefully short of these targets. The EU in particular has the potential to levy massive fines if that is the case. With the Green lobby picking up pace and teeth, you can bet there will be an awful lot of lobbying over the coming 12 months. Let us hope as much energy is being put into development.

Have a great weekend, enjoy the rain!

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