PAUL Cope lives and breathes the car industry.
He’s director of manufacturing for all of the Jaguar Land Rover brands and he gave the keynote address at the Solihull Chamber of Commerce and Industry new year lunch.
He started with Ford at the age of 22 on the cyclinder block line and worked his way up from Dagenham to Detroit before joining JLR when Tata moved in and bought it off the American car giant.
The main thrust of his speech was that JLR is a profitable company, making £600 million in the 18 months prior to the credit crunch.
He was at pains to point out that the firm didn’t want hand outs - like our banks - but a freeing up of credit facilities for all the automotive industry, so that people would be able to get the loans they needed to buy the cars they wanted.
This week the government appeared to answer his call, putting up £1.3bn in loans plus an addition £1bn for greening the automotive industry.
But wil this help? Banks like the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds have soaked up countless millions of our money in an effort to loosen the credit strings but all they’ve done is tuck it away to pay for their own toxic loans.
Meanwhile our traditional industries, like steel and car making, have been allowed to slowly grind to a halt and now go into reverse through the credit crunch.
Mr Cope was keen to tout JLR green credentials, he recognises the industry must change. But first it has to survive and one cannot help thinking that it will need more than what’s on offer to achieve that.