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The success of the UK motor industry could be “jeopardised” if the UK leaves the single market following Brexit, a senior industry figure has said. The chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) told the BBC the sector would be under threat outside the single market. Mike Hawes told BBC business editor Simon Jack that the industry’s success came from being in the single market. The European Union is the UK motor industry’s biggest export market.
Jaguar Land Rover, the UK’s largest carmaker by units, has said that any new tariffs introduced after Britain leaves the EU will make its business uncompetitive and put jobs at risk. Hanno Kirner, the company’s strategy director, said in a speech ahead of the Paris Motor Show that trade barriers would “not only affect what we sell, but what we buy and it will ultimately damage our business and British jobs”. His comments are the most severe warning from JLR about the potential impact from Brexit and were accompanied by a statement from the car industry’s trade body that access to the EU single market was essential.
Volkswagen has unveiled its first long-distance electric car, heralding a “new era” for the company in an attempt to draw a line under the diesel emissions scandal. VW’s ID concept vehicle will form the basis for a production car with a range of up to 600km (373 miles) on a single charge, and is due to go on sale in 2020, the company will say at the Paris motor show on Thursday. A self-driving version is due to be available from 2025. The move by the German company highlights how the race among established carmakers and new industry entrants to produce a mass-market electric vehicle is hotting up.
Renault has unveiled a new electric car that it claims will overcome psychological barriers among drivers who fear running out of power between charges. Launched on Thursday ahead of the Paris motor show, the latest Zoe model will have the longest range of any mainstream electric vehicle, the French carmaker said. Comparisons will inevitably be drawn with US-headquartered Tesla, whose models match the Zoe’s 250-mile (400km) battery, but Renault said it was competing for a different market. Most mainstream electric cars, such as those by BMW and Nissan, have a range of 100-150 miles.
Motorists face fines of up to £1,000 for ignoring red crosses on motorways under plans to cut dangerous driving. The Department for Transport said that automated cameras could be installed to log vehicles that failed to change lanes when presented with warning signs on overhead gantries. Fines for ignoring motorway signs are likely to mirror those for jumping red lights. Drivers can be given a £100 fine and three penalty points for ignoring traffic lights although fines can rise to £1,000 for the most serious offences. Up to one vehicle in 14 drives through red crosses on motorways.
Nearly half of young drivers admit they are unsafe on the road and two thirds of parents agree they are at risk, according to a new report. With a revised driving test planned and the theory test now 20 years old, 47 per cent of drivers aged 17 to 24 think that they are not being taught enough about road safety. Road accidents are the biggest killer of young people and new research reveals 800,000 young motorists think that they have an inadequate level of road safety knowledge.