29.03.23 Senior Warden Bettine Evans

Automotive Industry Dinner 2023

What a delight to see the Vinters’ Hall almost filled to capacity. The seating at dinner was snug to say the least and we were all soon closely acquainted with our neighbours.

It was, as usual, a delightful, friendly evening, filled with the laughter and camaraderie for which the Coachmakers is famous. The reception was packed, and we all edged around to make new friends and greet old ones. During the reception, The Master presented a cheque for £5,250 to representatives of the Hornchurch and Upminster Sea Cadet Unit, from money raised at last year’s Banquet, to contribute to the renovation of its drill hall. A cheque for the same amount was presented to 452 Squadron RAF Air Cadet Unit at the previous dinner, which will be used to support an adventurous training programme.

A wonderful dinner was served: really our chefs surpass themselves on every occasion and this one in my view beat them all. The Loving Cup ceremony was the usual mix of professionalism and laughter, whilst the chocolates continued to delight us all. The London Choral Sinfonia, under the guidance of their leader and conductor, Michael Waldron, entertained us with the most beautiful and appropriately motor-themed music as we all sat silently mesmerized.

The Master rose to make a short speech and presented awards to various students from the Royal College of Art, Coventry, Cranfield and Brunel Universities and an A level student from St Olave’s School Orpington, assisted by our guest speaker, Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, whom The Master then invited to speak.

Guest speaker Chief Executive of the SMMT Mike Hawes

Mike’s speech was interesting, entertaining, informative and a joy to hear. I have attempted to summarize it for your information, but there is too much common sense and wisdom therein for me to precis it without losing the sense of it. Suffice to say that Mike put into words the amazing growth of the motor industry since its inception, the number of times it has reinvented itself, the changes it has undergone in technology, globalization, production methods and processes, industrial relations and modern management. Adapt or die.

So where do we stand today? The UK has more than 25 manufacturers building cars, buses, coaches, lorries, vans, and powertrains, and 2,500 component manufacturers exporting to 150 markets. With some of the world’s finest engineers developing new technologies in batteries, hybrid, hydrogen and fuel cells.

Mike Hawes’s full speech can be found here.