Automobile Industry and Policies in the UK : a green agenda?

Journée du Gerpisa n°: 
Mercredi 30 Avril 2014, 16:00 - 19:00 CEST

Salle Presbourg
2, rue de Presbourg
75008 Paris


Industrial policy in Britain is evolving. It is moving away from exclusive reliance on a horizontal industrial policy framework, in the sense of generically designed policies intended to apply across many sectors, towards sector-specific policy measures intended to target industries that have been pre-selected as strategically important. At the same time, there is a growing acknowledgement of the importance of finding forms of industrial development that are consistent with reducing carbon emissions. This seminar will assess these policy shifts for the particular case of the automotive industry.

It will consider in which senses automotive has been singled out as one of three leading manufacturing sectors for British economic development – alongside aerospace and pharmaceuticals – as important both for trade and innovation spillovers. At the same time, it will position this development in government policy thinking against Britain’s new Low Carbon Industrial Strategy, launched in 2009 as part response to the stresses of the economic and financial crisis of 2008-09, and assess the extent to which this involves in general terms a real departure for British policy practices. It will explain and consider the role of the British Automotive Council, established alongside the new low carbon industrial development strategy and in response to the recommendations of an earlier joint government-industry research effort (undertaken by the New Automotive Industrial Growth Team (NAIGT), in parallel with studies of aerospace) and tasked with developing low carbon technology roadmaps and identifying policy needs.

Finally the seminar will explore policy strengths and weaknesses, not only from a British domestic viewpoint but also for the contributions Britain makes (or fails to make) to Europe-wide debates on the role of the state vis-à-vis sustainability. Some comments will be offered on whether Britain is likely to advance at the expense of industrial rivals on the continental mainland of Europe, or in concert. While the new policy developments have an important bearing for the entire automotive sector, particular examples will focus principally on two main subsectors: cars and light commercial vehicles. The seminar will draw on the contents of two research papers that will be available beforehand.

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