Any remaining doubters in the automotive industry that Brexit would be bad for Britain needs to look at the investment planned by Nissan.

It’s Sunderland plant has been promised the next Qashqai, and in an unexpected move, the forthcoming X-Trail as well. There was, strangely, no mention of the Juke replacement but this might go to a Renault plant in France where there is spare capacity and would placate Nissan’s parent.

Nissan Motor Manufacturing in Sunderland is already the UK’s biggest car plant and it’s about to get 26% bigger, which will almost certainly mean more jobs there and in the supply chain throughout Britain.

Everyone working on the project since the Nissan boss said the UK may not get the investment has been saying no special financial inducements were promised, but you can bet your newly-valued £ that HM Government will do all it can to get and give a good deal for all the UK exported models from Nissan, Honda, Toyota, Vauxhall, Mini, Bentley, Rolls-Royce as well as the CVs pouring out of Luton. 

So long as the UK remains highly productive, and it easily beats the best on mainland Europe at the moment, it has a strong business case but unreasonable or inflexible UK union demands will add to cost and curtail future plans and investment. We are living in rapidly changing times and so far they’ve been for the better.

Are we about to see a better way of doing PR as well ? 

I have recently bemoaned the unprofessional and inadequate PR operations of some companies in supplying what the media want but a colleague told me of a new touchy-feely relationship.

I know some manufacturers have a standard system to call you before vehicle delivery or collection to ensure you are where they think the vehicle is going, but last month one company went a bit further.

After taking delivery of a new test vehicle my colleague had a call from the PR department the day after delivery to ask if anything further was needed in the way of words, images or videos, or had any comments on the vehicle or delivery. They seemed very keen to go a bit further than any other PR department in meeting journalistic expectations or requests.

Let’s hope the department involved find this a worthwhile exercise and it will be copied by others, if they can pull themselves away from their smartphones or tablets making or reading endless social media postings.

Also, congratulations and thanks to McLaren for putting on a regional driving day for thewesterngroup members. Surely, if this slim yet highly efficient PR operation can mount a driving day, why can’t bigger operations do the same? 

It’s that time of year again. 

After the horrors of Halloween and fireworks of 5 November, thewesterngroup will settle down to a hopefully less shocking and quieter annual general meeting.

Once again, the group will be hosted at Mitsubishi in Cirencester, who have probably been our longest serving supporter, and we will be using the most exclusive hotel in the UK where they ask you if you wish to stay.

There is a good turnout indicated for the event and I will be reporting on discussions and possible decisions in the December briefing From the chair. 

Robin Roberts | Chairman WGMW

Robin Roberts
Robin Roberts

Robin is the longest serving chairman of The Western Group. He’s been vice chairman or chairman for over ten years and oversees the annual Western Group PR Driving Day each summer assisted by the group committee and supported by group members.

He contributes to a number of outlets in Wales and the UK, including the Driving Force editorial syndication agency feeding the biggest regional news and feature publishers in Britain.

Robin specialises in the Welsh automotive sector and motor related businesses with interests in Wales and publishes which covers news, features, trade and motor sport in Wales.

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