#business So will Liz say howdy Audi? PM may be forced to ride in a German car

#business So will Liz say howdy Audi? PM may be forced to ride in a German car

#enterprise So will Liz say howdy Audi? PM may be forced to ride in a German car

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So will Liz say howdy Audi? Liz Truss has to decide a new car… however with Jaguar axing their limos, the brand new PM may have to flip to a German motor

Spare a thought for Liz Truss. Never thoughts the financial and political minefield Britain’s new prime minister is having to negotiate. She’s additionally having to select a new car.

And regardless of the will to ‘buy British’, the brand new car is about to be German — certainly one of a fleet of ten new ministerial Audi A8 armoured limousines no much less — as a result of there’s no appropriate British-built different obtainable. It’s a dilemma dealing with many UK motorists, too.

Traditionally, UK prime ministers proudly fly the flag by being chauffeured in a British limousine.

Wrong image? Britain may be forced to use an armoured Audi for the Prime Minister's vehicle - because there’s no suitable UK-built alternative available

Wrong picture? Britain may be forced to use an armoured Audi for the Prime Minister’s car – as a result of there’s no appropriate UK-built different obtainable

Jaguars and Daimler-badged variants have been the norm for the reason that Nineteen Eighties.

Before that it was Rovers, just like the just lately auctioned P5 used to chauffeur Margaret Thatcher and offered for £36,000, and earlier than that stately Humber Pullmans loved by premiers from Winston Churchill to Sir Alec Douglas-Home.

The present official Downing Street car is an armoured Jaguar XJ limousine, constructed at a former Spitfire manufacturing facility in Birmingham’s Castle Bromwich. But it’s knocking on a bit.

I attended its glitzy launch in July 2009 when this XJ (mannequin codename X351) was unveiled at a star-studded social gathering at London’s Saatchi Gallery by supermodel Elle Macpherson and U.S. TV host Jay Leno. 

Armoured variations of this XJ have transported former prime ministers David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

In July 2019, Jaguar Land Rover confirmed it meant to construct a successor all-electric XJ luxurious saloon forward of a deliberate launch in 2020. 

But final 12 months bosses controversially axed it, noting ‘that the planned XJ replacement does not fit with our vision for a reimaged Jaguar brand’.

So that was that. Bosses say no new Jaguars will be revealed till 2024, with the primary on sale from 2025. 

Dilemma: Prime Minister Liz Truss will be under pressure to 'buy British'

Dilemma: Prime Minister Liz Truss will be below strain to ‘purchase British’

Spotting a possibility, canny Audi — a part of Germany’s big Volkswagen Group — dived in to provide a fleet of its flagship armoured A8s for analysis for Downing Street duties, by way of the Metropolitan Police.

Audi first acquired its foot in the door years in the past by discreetly cosying up to the Royal Family — starting with Diana, then William and Harry, who have been usually photographed driving their newest fashions.

It additionally focused celebrities and VIPs, with a fleet of Audi limousines dropping off and choosing up company at each main red-carpet occasion.

It’s not the primary time this has occurred. Jaguar encountered a comparable drawback with Labour prime minister Tony Blair (with John ‘Two Jags’ Prescott as his transport secretary) when the launch of its then new technology XJ limousine (codenamed X350) was delayed.

Germany’s BMW stepped in to provide Number 10 its new armoured 7 Series — a story I broke solely in the Daily Mail, headlined ‘The Blair Panzer’.

So when it comes to ‘buying British’, the problem confronted by Miss Truss — and Mr Blair earlier than her — is one shared by thousands and thousands of UK car consumers. 

Miles on the clock: The current official Downing Street vehicle is an armoured Jaguar XJ limousine, built at a former Spitfire factory in Birmingham's Castle Bromwich

Miles on the clock: The present official Downing Street car is an armoured Jaguar XJ limousine, constructed at a former Spitfire manufacturing facility in Birmingham’s Castle Bromwich

For in the early twenty first century and in a globalised car trade the query stays: what precisely is a ‘British’ car?

Until the Sixties and early Nineteen Seventies, this was easy. It was a car produced by a British-owned, British-based carmaker in a UK manufacturing facility.

Many car corporations in the UK had been nationalised and have been state-owned but additionally suffered strikes and poor high quality through the troubled British Leyland years.

Back then, a Rover — such because the P5 favoured by medical doctors and the comfortably-off center courses — or a sporty MG have been a straightforward selection. 

How British automobiles went international…

However, not like extra protectionist Germany and France, the UK’s extra laissez-faire insurance policies of the Nineteen Eighties noticed a lot of our indigenous motor trade snapped up by international rivals.

Since that point consultants have spoken not of ‘the British car industry’ however of ‘the car industry in Britain’.

And nowhere was that extra evident than through the Queen’s funeral when a bevy of British luxurious manufacturers have been on official responsibility. 

  • The Queen’s coffin was carried in a transformed and prolonged Jaguar XJ hearse. There have been fleets of back-up Range Rovers previous and new — additionally constructed in Britain.
  • But though Jaguar Land Rover employs hundreds in UK factories and at present holds three Royal Warrants, it’s owned by the enormous Indian conglomerate Tata.
  • Some key fashions — resembling the brand new Defender and Discovery — are constructed in a large new plant at Nitra in Slovakia.
  • Two State Bentleys and a variety of Bentayga 4x4s have been on responsibility from the Crewe carmaker for the Queen’s funeral. But, like Audi, Bentley is owned by Germany’s Volkswagen Group.
  • Rolls-Royce epitomises Britishness, and the agency’s newest fashions are constructed at an unique boutique manufacturing facility at Goodwood close to Chichester. But it’s owned by Germany’s BMW.
  • MINI is one other basic British car model with automobiles constructed primarily at Oxford. But it’s also owned by BMW which is constructing some MINI fashions in China.
  • Morgan, based mostly in Malvern, Worcestershire, makes hand-made basic sports activities automobiles together with the Plus Four and adrenaline-fuelled Super 3 three-wheelers. Often considered the final British-owned carmaker, however European funding group Investindustrial has a majority stake in the 113-year-old agency.
  • Aston Martin and McLaren have main international backers whereas Lotus, MG and Rover are all Chinese owned.

Not simple, is it?

Nostalgia for misplaced automobiles of the Nineteen Seventies 

'Lost Cars of the 1970s' is a nostalgic and informative look back at 60 diverse cars with fascinating stories

‘Lost Cars of the Nineteen Seventies’ is a nostalgic and informative look again at 60 numerous automobiles with fascinating tales

Remember the Clan Crusader? Volkswagen Derby? Or the Vauxhall Firenza?

Nor do most individuals now —although there’s an instance of the latter on the good British Motor Museum at Gaydon, Warwickshire.

But in a quirky and entertaining e book, award-winning creator Giles Chapman has shone a highlight on a decade of forgotten classics that each predicted what was to come, or pointed to a future that by no means fairly materialised.

‘Lost Cars of the 1970s’ (on sale from October 6, The History Press, £17.99) is a nostalgic and informative look again at 60 numerous automobiles with fascinating tales. 

Chapman says: ‘The casualties and sideshows of motoring history from around the world finally get the recognition they deserve’.

Among forgotten initiatives have been Italy’s intelligent plan to replace the Mini; America’s electrical runabout that paved the best way for Tesla; Britain’s fashionable, homespun sports activities automobiles; the Japanese limousine meant to do 25 mph; and the ‘safety car’ that advanced into a Polish workhorse.


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