Classic car specialists in ‘serious jeopardy’, new trade body warns

More than 100,000 UK classic car service, repair and supply chain jobs are at risk of being lost, a new trade association for the sector has warned.

The Historic and Classic Vehicles Alliance (HCVA), which launched this week to promote the sector, is urging government to use post-Brexit regulatory independence to protect and promote the classic car scene.

The ‘not for profit’ organisation intends to campaign on behalf of individuals and companies in the classic vehicle world including specialist restorers, dealers, parts suppliers and a broad cross section of the multi-billion-pound industry.

The classic car sector supports around 113,000 jobs in thousands of specialist small businesses and supply chain firms.

According to the association, annual turnover including international trade is estimated at £18.3 billion.

It values the three-million-strong British classic fleet is at over £12 billion and annual tax revenue generated for the exchequer close to £3 billion.

Related: Petition calls for industry support and action plan to correct ongoing effects of last year’s six-month MOT exemption

HCVA director, Harry Whale said: “Our sector is a great British success story and has been for decades.

“But it’s in serious jeopardy and may not survive to continue providing opportunities for future generations if we don’t act now.

“In a world of mind-boggling bureaucracy, with environmental and other legislation looming, we need to ensure the voice of the industry and owners is heard and understood by regulators and those in power.

“We’ll work hard for the whole sector.

Related: Top ten classic cars set to rise in value

“We’re taking the initiative now to address current challenges, clear up confusion and grasp opportunities to find solutions.

“These problems span the world and we’re determined to take a long-term view as we campaign to secure the future.”

The HCVA is seeking solutions, as many businesses and owners find themselves trapped in a bureaucratic nightmare as they navigate red tape surrounding the movement of vehicles and parts for sales, restoration, competition preparation and events.

The Alliance claims it can demonstrate that, contrary to popular misconception, classic vehicle emissions have a relatively modest impact on the environment compared to many modern cars because they are typically better maintained and driven sparingly.

Restoring and improving a classic, they argue, creates far less emissions than producing and shipping any new vehicle.

Related: Changes to black and silver number plate rules come into force

HCVA membership is open to businesses and individuals from across the sector including established dealers, marque specialists, restorers, parts specialists, competition preparers, importation and registration services, transport and storage specialists.

The alliance says it is committed to accountability and pledges to introduce reliable common standards and a code of conduct that all members sign up to.

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