Examination of Witnesses (Questions 57
TUESDAY 23 OCTOBER 2001
57. Good morning. Mr Macgowan, I presume you
will be leading this morning. Perhaps you would introduce your
(Mr Macgowan) Thank you. On my right, I have Paul
Everitt who is our head of policy and economics at the Society
of Motor Manufacturers. On my left I have Steve Franklin who is
our technical manager of vehicle recycling.
58. I do not wish to appear impertinent at the
beginningit may develop later onbut from the fact
that you have brought along two of your qualified technical staff
as distinct from representatives of the industry do I take it
that there is a bit of difficulty in getting a unified voice?
This is a syndrome that we are not unaware of in Westminster,
but in relation to other organisations. Would it be right to say,
without being facetious, that within the industry there are differing
emphases as to the views on this issue?
(Mr Macgowan) Firstly, I would like to thank you for
your warm welcome. Secondly, on this particular point and on this
particular piece of legislation, which is an environmental piece
of legislation as we all know, the answer is that there is a united
view amongst manufacturers. Indeed, there is a united view on
the way in which we could move forward with the interpretation
of this directive that results in our team being here today because
our manufacturing members have supported the submission that we
have put to you completely.
59. Would it be true however that different
parts of the industry, different players, will be affected in
differing ways? Obviously, there is the high volume against the
low volume; there are the new entries against companies which
have been in place for a long time and there are companies that
have been through various metamorphoses which mean that they still
have a responsibility for vehicles which are normally no longer
part of the industry.
(Mr Macgowan) You are right. When it comes to interpreting
this legislation in comparison to other Member States, most other
Member States are able to get rid of some of their old vehicles
to other markets. This is an option that the United Kingdom does
not have bearing in mind we drive on the left hand side of the
road. Also, in the United Kingdom there are shades of interest
in this legislation. A colleague of mine who runs the Morgan car
company, for instance, said they had never experienced an end
of life vehicle, so clearly at one end of the spectrum you have
a situation where it is not a point at all; whereas by contrast
and on a very much more serious note I was speaking this morning
with Kevin Howe, the chief executive of MG Rover, who said that
his company would be seriously affected by this legislation and
were the legislation to be introduced in an inappropriate way
it could seriously reverse all the superb progress that that company
has made in these last 18 months. I am sure none of us would want
to be a party to that kind of reversal.
Chairman: That is a point which sparked some
of us onto promoting this as an issue for consideration because
we felt that there were players within the British motor industry
whose circumstances were fragile and might become quite perilous.