Today is 31st January. Which is occupying you more? Transfer deadline day, your tax return, or our departure from the EU? Having just returned from a trip to Europe today, no doubt it will be some time before any citizens notice any difference in our relationship. Though many continue to see it as a cause for celebration or recrimination, depending upon which side of the argument you come down on.
There was, however, some good news this week for the automotive manufacturing industry in this country. After a big slump last year, it was good news on a number of levels. You may have seen the headlines, UPS has ordered up to 20,000 new vehicles from a start-up company, Arrival. They have been manufacturing rechargeable light commercial vehicles for a little while, but in small numbers. But have also been working very closely with a number of key clients, such as UPS, to design their next generation of vehicles. And these will be completely re-engineered from the ground up. Not only that, so will the manufacturing process.
And the good news is that their main factory is in Banbury. At present they employ 400 people, of which more than half are in the UK. And the revolution? This is very much a modular production model, producing major components in a number of different places before finally assembling them. Dare I say it, much like PCs are created nowadays. Someone produces a hard drive, another the processor, another the memory and the motherboards. The assembler gathers all this together and then bolts them into place. Compare this to Tesla’s model, they have built one of the largest factories in the world in China, producing 500,000 vehicles. Study it – Arrival’s model is more nimble, more adaptable, less capital intensive and less risky.
And talking about risk, did any of you put any money on Aston Martin over the past few months? Looking at the headlines this week, perhaps you should have done. It would appear that Lawrence Stroll, head of the Formula One racing team, has injected an enormous amount of capital, and renamed his team Aston Martin racing, saving the company and reinvigorating it. Shares today have shot up as a result.
Have a great weekend, enjoy your first few days out of Europe.
It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.
Agnes Repplier (1855 – 1950)
Though it sounds absurd, it is true to say I felt younger at sixty than I felt at twenty.
Ellen Glasgow (1873 – 1945), The Woman Within, 1954
It is very strange that the years teach us patience – that the shorter our time, the greater our capacity for waiting.
Elizabeth Taylor (1932 – ), “A Wreath of Roses”
Keep cool and you command everybody.
Louis de Saint-Just (1767 – 1794)
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