Fears of a double dip recession may be on the rise again, but the nation’s car manufacturers seem to be making hay while the sun shines, according to new figures from the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders).
Production of commercial vehicles rose nearly 25% on the same measure, hitting 10,656. The June figures are also up slightly on those for May 2010 – when 104,365 cars were made – despite the ending of the cash for clunkers scrappage scheme in that month.
For the year to date, the picture looks even more bullish – car production is 55% up on the same period last year, commercial vehicles not far behind at 49.6%. Of course it’s important to remember that last year was one of the worst in recent memory for the motor trade, but all the same it’s encouraging news for the balance of payments – and for everyone who works in the auto industry.
And it seems that much of the production is destined for export, as sales in the UK rose rather more slowly, by around 10%. All the same, punters are still buying cars despite the increasingly uncertain economic prospects for the rest of this year and the next. Get while the going is good seems to be the motto, with the Ford Fiesta top of Brit buyers' shopping lists.
However, most industry sources agree that the second half of the year is likely to be tougher, with sales and production growth levelling off or perhaps falling slightly as a result of further austerity measures both at home and abroad.
One individual who looks set to continue cleaning up in the car biz is 30-year-old entrepreneur Gurchan Sahota. His Derby-based Elite Detailing offers a hand car wash with a difference. And the difference is that it costs £7,000 a pop. Lordy.
Car nut Sahota (who still, we are not that surprised to report, lives with his mum and dad) uses all kinds of high tech tricks, and takes up to a week to wash each car. He starts by ‘decontaminating’ the paint with a lambswool wash mitt and 'PH neutral' shampoo before employing an ultrasonic depth gauge to assess the thickness of the paint and a £5,000 computerised forensic microscope to analyse any chips and scrapes.
He then finishes the job with a five step polishing regime using Brazilian Carnauba wax costing a remarkable £8,000 a tub. Unsurprisingly, it’s a margin not a volume play, and he probably doesn’t see many repmobiles, or even BMWs or Mercs in his specially-equipped workshop (also known as the family home’s double garage).
Rather his target customers are very well heeled and equally monomaniacal owners of Aston Martins, Ferraris, McLarens and other automotive exotica. They prefer to remain anonymous (we don’t blame them, would you want everyone to know that you’d spent that much on a car wash?) but apparently several Premiership footballers are on his list…
‘When you’ve paid £150,000 for a car, a few grand for cleaning it properly is worth it’ says the savvy Sahota. Good luck to him – the big car makers could learn a thing or two from someone who can persuade punters to part with the price of a two-year-old Ford Fiesta for a bit of upmarket spit and polish…
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From rags to riches for Sports Direct
Car makers boom as petrolhead offers £7,000 car wash
Letters from Malawi: Lessons in rural economics
Durex and Cillit Bang become unlikely bedfellows in SSL/Reckitt love-in