Essay by Eric Worrall
Who could possibly have predicted that the promises of politicians aren’t worth the paper they are written on?
Ford UK says any delay on government petrol car ban risks EV transition
September 20, 20239:30 PM GMT+10 Updated 3 days ago
Ford said dropping the [British] 2030 deadline would be a mistake, and hinted it could put further investments at risk.
“The UK 2030 target is a vital catalyst to accelerate Ford into a cleaner future,” Ford UK chair Lisa Brankin said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Our business needs three things from the UK government: ambition, commitment and consistency. A relaxation of 2030 would undermine all three.”
Is anyone awake in shareholder land? Who put the fools who bet the futures of their businesses on the trustworthiness of politicians in charge of major automobile companies?
To my knowledge, only one automaker called it right, and defied the senseless EV stampede. Back in May, Ferrari announced they had no plans to phase out internal combustion vehicles.
I doubt British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s hesitant retreat will save his Conservative administration. British people are so upset at the green cost of living hikes they’ve endured in recent years, they appear to be preparing to vote out the Conservatives just to express their anger, even though the main opposition party promises even more green commitment.
I suspect British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak knows what must be done to turn the ship, and win the next election – embrace the policy positions of his short lived predecessor Prime Minister Liz Truss, to try to convince voters a real conservative is back in charge.
How will all this play out at the next British election?
I don’t think Prime Minister Rishi’s timid move to ease Net Zero pressure is convincing – it does nothing to address the day to day pain of excruciating energy and food bills, and soaring house rental and mortgage costs. Large numbers of desperate former conservative voters are completely focussed on short term issues, like how to pay their next heating bill, and how to survive the coming winter with their personal finances intact. Liberating the energy market as Prime Minister Liz Truss tried to do, permitting companies like Caudrilla to flood the domestic gas market and drive down prices, undoing green mandates which drive up the cost of electricity, could together provide massive and almost immediate relief to voters struggling with the cost of living. But no mainstream British party leader is offering such relief.
Whatever the reason for this rejection of common sense, my crystal ball tells me that in the face of bipartisan support for increasingly unpopular high cost green policies, the British people will express their frustration by flip-flopping at every election, driving a wrecking ball through the careers of less established politicians, blowing up administration after administration, until someone in power gets it right.
Meanwhile, shareholders should consider housecleaning the senior management of major auto companies. It is a commercial disgrace that Ferrari are the only major auto company which made the right call. Betting billions of dollars of shareholder capital on a political promise to coerce voters was never a sensible strategy, it was always a wild gamble – as Rishi Sunak’s hesitant retreat on EV coercion has now demonstrated. In my opinion, so long as the executives who made these questionable decisions remain in charge of their companies, shareholder capital may be at risk.