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The State of UK Automotive Industry in 2021

According to SMMT , the automotive industry in the UK has turned over £60.2 billion in 2020, which is £18.7 billion less than the last year. This is obvious, given the extraordinary circumstances, but is also a part of a larger trend of decreasing profits and demand in the automotive market.

In this white paper, we will cover the state of the automotive industry in the UK, and show how careful digitalisation can help overcome the ongoing crisis of lackluster sales and customer confidence.

Overview of the car industry in the UK

At present, technically complex, science-intensive products are increasing their share in the global market. Additionally, customers are starting to be interested in sustainable motor vehicles.



commercial vehicles



among European manufacturers

Jumped up


market share of sustainable motor vehicles



Major niches

Personal transport

The largest car manufacturers with a presence in the UK include Honda, Nissan, Jaguar, Toyota and MINI. But, faced with tariff uncertainty from Brexit and other ailments, companies such as Honda are closing some of their factories.

In 2020, there was a record-small number of car registrations (1,631,064) and cars built (920,928), showing falling demand and supply. In addition, there is a significant rise in alternatively fueled vehicles.

While most of the fall in demand can be attributed to Covid-19, this continues the trend of falling demand for new cars and significant interest in electric and hybrid vehicles.


About 4,000 companies (with a total of 41,000 employees) in the UK are involved in the motorsport-related manufacturing industry. A recent highlight: in March 2021, Aston Martin announced that their electric sports models will be produced at their Gaydon, Warwickshire car plant.

Commercial vehicles

Overall, the UK produced 66,116 commercial vehicles in 2020. From these, 57.3% were made for the export market.

The UK is the world's leading exporter of trucks. JCB, which is one of the world leaders in the production of construction equipment, has more than 10 thousand employees and 11 factories in the UK. In 2020, 94.9% of commercial vehicles produced for export were sent to the EU. This percentage is higher than in previous years.

Current trends in the industry

Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous or unmanned vehicles are designed to minimize downtime, make transport safer, and reduce the number of traffic accidents. They use advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence and computer vision to identify obstacles and avoid them.

Technology for predicting pedestrian behavior

Unlike two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) object detection technologies, which take into account limited parameters, their solution checks the position of the head, eye contact, foot movements of pedestrians, weather conditions, and sets the level of risk. This reduces false alarms when detecting pedestrians and improves the safety of autonomous vehicles.

Autonomous vehicles for last-mile delivery

Udelv provides autonomous vehicles for last-mile delivery. It combines advanced artificial intelligence algorithms and ultra-fast remote operations for human-assisted control in unique situations. The startup's vans have a payload capacity of approx. 360 kg (800+ lb) and a top speed of about 100 km / h (60 mph). Minibusses deliver groceries from nearby stores and send push notifications when an order arrives.

Internet of Things (IoT)

In the automotive industry, the Internet of Things enables secure communications between vehicles, as well as between vehicles and infrastructure components. Companies develop advanced sensor technology to collect more vehicle data as well as allow the vehicle to understand its surroundings. The technology can also automate fuel and toll payments.

An electric vehicle charging platform

EcoG is a German and US-based startup offering an IoT-based operating system and an electric vehicle charging platform. The startup provides manufacturers with the tools that make developing and maintaining electric vehicle charging infrastructure simple, fast, and scalable. It also allows operators to integrate services and microservices into chargers to make the charging process profitable.

Automatic electronic registration device

Canadian startup KonnectShift provides IoT solutions to optimize fleet and asset management. The startup is developing an automatic electronic registration device (ELD) to continuously monitor the status of vehicles. The solution includes real-time dispatch route planning and optimization, advanced analytics to include driving, vehicle and fuel alerts, preventive maintenance alerts to reduce downtime, and driver management applications.


Blockchain has many uses in the automotive industry. These include the exchange of vehicle data over a secure network for collaborative mobility solutions such as passenger calling, urban transport and delivery. Moreover, it finds application in checking the supply chain of spare parts or ensuring that raw materials and spare parts come exclusively from legitimate and reliable sources.

Security platform for autonomous vehicles

British startup Cube Intelligence is developing a blockchain-based security platform for autonomous vehicles. The startup's technology uses hash codes to block malicious attacks or attempts to hack autonomous and connected vehicles.

Blockchain technology

Israeli startup DAV offers a decentralized platform for autonomous vehicles based on blockchain technology. The platform enables autonomous vehicles to discover AVs, service providers or customers around them. Vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communication takes place either on the blockchain, with smart contracts, or off-chain using DAV protocols. The startup is developing protocols for drone charging networks, drone flight planning and open mobility.

Human-machine interface

Human-machine interfaces (HMI) can enable drivers to use voice or haptic feedback to control vehicles. This expands the driving capabilities of the vehicle. Another form of HMI includes intelligent virtual assistants that help drivers interact with vehicles and other service providers.

Automotive equipment manufacturers

American startup Awayr AI develops human-machine interfaces for vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and robots. The startup is working with original automotive equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to reduce HMI development cycle times and improve interface security.

Advanced Driver Assistance System

German startup Apostera offers Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS). The startup's platform combines augmented reality (AR), a smart camera and a 360-degree view system to illuminate the route on bends, bends, slopes, as well as difficult intersections. This helps drivers stay in lane, prevents collisions and enables autonomous driving. Moreover, the solution can be adapted to any vehicle model or specific requirements.

Artificial intelligence (AI)

Artificial intelligence technologies such as machine learning, deep learning and computer vision are finding applications in the automotive industry. They guide unmanned vehicles, operate fleets, help drivers improve safety, and guide insurance decisions. AI is also finding applications in manufacturing, where it speeds up production and helps reduce costs.

AI-powered fleet management

Indian startup RevitsOne offers AI-powered fleet management software that is suitable for fleets of various sizes. The startup's vehicle management system provides information on speed, vital signs and health. In addition, the flight speed recorder limits the speed to prevent dangerous driving behavior.

AI solutions

American startup Apex.AI enables automotive companies to implement sophisticated AI solutions. Apex.OS runs on automotive electronic control units (ECUs) and offers robust and secure APIs for developing autonomous mobile solutions. Apex.Autonomy offers modules for 3D perception, localization and control, enabling the use of autonomous vehicles. Finally, MARV.Automotive is a customizable and extensible data management platform that reliably transfers data from the vehicle to the cloud.

Big data and data analytics

In the age of big data, advanced data analytics enable a variety of decisions to be made throughout the vehicle's lifecycle. The data collected from the vehicles allows for preventive maintenance, informs managers about their fleets and alerts the relevant authorities in case of accidents.

Buy here, pay here

American startup Procon Analytics is using big data to offer a car finance solution. The solution collects millions of data points in real time and analyzes them to enable lenders to instantly assess and mitigate risk. This allows “Buy here, pay here” (BHPH) dealers to expand their business and provide loans to high-risk clients.


Vehicle sharing enables mobility as a service (MaaS) and increases the efficiency of vehicle usage.

The LM Mission ControlTM platform

American startup Launch Mobility is developing a platform for a number of common mobile solutions. The LM Mission ControlTM platform offers free-form or station-based car sharing, advanced transfer services, dockless shared scooters, keyless rental programs, and peer-to-peer shared mobility. It allows business users to manage their fleet and get data-driven insights.

The micro-mobility platform

Singapore-based startup Beam specializes in e-scooters to promote collaborative mobility in the Asia-Pacific region. Users find the nearest Beam scooter in the app and park it in visible public places after the ride. The micro-mobility platform offers a sustainable alternative to short-distance travel and helps regulate traffic in cities.


For wider adoption, electric vehicles must address issues such as high price, weak batteries, inadequate charging infrastructure, electrification of the vehicle fleet, and creating renewable-energy-based charging networks.

Modular electric vehicle charging

German startup ChargeX offers a modular electric vehicle charging solution that turns parking spaces into charging stations. Their Aqueduct platform is easy to install, has 4 charging modules up to 22 kW, provides monthly reports, and uses a Typ2 charging cable. The solution recognizes the power requirements of each vehicle and automatically adjusts the charging speed for them.


Cars now have a tamper-proof digital identity that distinguishes them from other vehicles on the network. This makes it easy to track vehicle data for a variety of use cases such as insurance, driver safety, predictive maintenance, and fleet management. Sharing vehicle data not only helps individual customers but also allows companies to completely rebuild entire ecosystems.

V2X platform for autonomous transactions

A UK-based startup called V2X Network offers the V2X platform for autonomous transactions that combines geonets and caching to provide real-time communications with low latency. The platform is based on distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and provides a high degree of scalability. The startup uses enterprise-grade encryption to give users control over their data for increased security and privacy.

Artificial intelligence-powered traffic light platform

Israeli startup NoTraffic is developing an artificial intelligence-powered traffic light platform that digitizes road infrastructure management and connects drivers to city roads to solve a variety of traffic-related problems. Data on all road users is transmitted and processed in real-time for intelligent mobility.

Impact of problems on the crisis in the automotive industry

Switch to electric

While the EV segment is supposed to be attractive, analysts say that neither the market nor manufacturers are ready for them. Automakers need to change their operations and customize cars for the mass market, but this requires investment on a massive scale.The expenses are exacerbated by the global ship shortage: semiconductors are even more necessary for electric than traditional vehicles.

In the meantime, the share of sales for the fuel market is not that big. In addition, there is a lack of EV infrastructure and not a lot of affordable middle- and lower-price models available.

Falling car ownership

New technologies are changing the way cars are owned. If self-driving cars become mainstream in the next 15 years, many of us can rent them rather than own our own vehicles. This can lower the cost per mile and make car ownership appear less attractive. Here, classic car companies must also compete with tech giants such as Uber, Google, Waymo. To do this, the companies form associations where they work together on electric vehicles.

Falling demand

The main place where demand is declining is China. In the US and Europe, demand is also gradually falling. One of the main reasons is the decline in consumer confidence. Another important reason is that more and more people choose used cars instead of buying new ones. This is exacerbated by the rising vehicle costs due to the global chip shortage.

Emission problems

Emission problems are also headaches for car companies. One of the main challenges is the introduction of tough new CO2 emissions standards designed to combat global warming that makes manufacturing cars much more expensive. Manufacturers can face heavy fines in the EU if their fleet violates agreed emission limits. On average, car manufacturers must spend € 1,000 per car to make them comply with the new regulations.


British car factories rely heavily on components imported from the EU, while most of the finished vehicles they produce are exported to mainland Europe. This creates challenges for companies that are grappling with tariff uncertainty.

Technological improvements on the horizon

What can companies do amidst all the problems? One of the options is to focus on the technology side, which enables companies to increase production efficiency and look towards establishing new customer relationships through innovative solutions.

Digital cockpits

Digital cockpits

The state of automobile UIs is frequently described as confusing and old-fashioned, even though modern cars have a lot of opportunities for smart and well-designed human-machine interfaces. Through the use of proper UX research and analysis, companies can enable their customers to access new possibilities. Here, the important thing is to find a company that can conduct thorough research into the optimal look and feel of HMIs to couple great design with usability.

Manufacturing improvements

Manufacturing improvements

While automation is used significantly in car manufacturing, there has been a rise of machines that can be deployed alongside human employees (called cobots). Companies have also been looking into how they can incorporate 3D printing, virtual, and automated reality into manufacturing processes.

Connectivity & telematics

Connectivity & telematics

Telematics is a way to transfer information generated by vehicles via wireless networks. This field covers any interactions with vehicle sensors. For example: tracking wear, power, and usage statistics.

Optimized e‑commerce

Optimized e‑commerce

If your company sells auto parts, new or used vehicles, hiring a company that will do full-cycle software design and development is a great choice. This will help you to optimize this part of the business without getting an in-house team.

What we offer

Our expertise lies in automotive e‑commerce solutions, sales and service organization. Whether you sell auto parts, new or used vehicles, we offer full-cycle e‑commerce development services.

Dealership management systems

Custom DMS that enable organizations to take full control of every aspect of the sales process, service follow-up, financing, insurance, and warehouse management.

  • Sales
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  • Financing and insurance
  • Customer relationship management

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Digital stores

We build traffic-grabbing and scalable automotive e-commerce websites that support advanced catalog management, a variety of secure payment options, customer support chatbots, and more features necessary to provide a competitive digital experience.

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Mobile apps

We develop feature-packed mobile solutions that help better engage with customers and drive revenue. Our expertise in mobile app development enables us to provide seamless in-app navigation, effective UI/UX design and functionality rooted in your business needs.

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