Blog: Dave LeggettUK appeal

Dave Leggett | 9 June 2011

Say cheese...

Say cheese...

I'm up to London today. This seems to be a week of auto Big Wigs flying in to London. I don't know whether it's a coincidence, but there's an ACEA board meeting today - plus press conference - being hosted at SMMT Forbes House. Yesterday we were treated to some serious posing outside the Prime Minister's pad, politicians eager to pose with Nissan execs next to an appropriately liveried Qashqai. Today, we have BMW announcing more investment at its Mini Oxford plant. Seeing Reithofer and Robertson for a briefing in central London later, also.

Look, it's all good and don't get me wrong, investment is great to see. But there is possibly another slightly more cynical way of looking at it...

'We are continuing to invest in Britain because it is a cheap place to manufacture, good quality and we are already there in force so we're effectively topping up on our planned investment cycle rather than doing truly new stuff. High unemployment in Britain is creating a largely compliant workforce in the manufacturing sector, wages under control. We also have the ear of the UK government as we are in one of the few sectors of the British economy that is 'doing well'. And the UK's nicely flexible labour laws also make it easy for us to 'dial down' should we ever want to.

'With the underlying problems facing the UK economy, it's hard to see the currency appreciating much versus the 'hard' euro - euro possibly about to split in two (hard and soft) - in the next five years. And if it does, then we got natural hedging! We'd be mad not to and our bankers told us we should get on with it. Set PR opportunities to max please.' 


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