Change for motor industry offers challenges and opportunities, says SIMI president
The Irish motor industry stands on the cusp of huge technological advances, but also faces big challenges in recruiting highly-skilled staff and maintaining the value of second-hand diesels.
That's what Gerard O'Farrell (left) said on assuming the mantle of SIMI president.
Mr O'Farrell, group director for the car division of the OHM Group, said that despite anti-diesel sentiment, 70pc of the newest cars on the road are diesel. "If the values of those cars were to fall further, in addition to the Brexit impact, we will reduce the ability of their owners to be able to change for a cleaner low or zero emissions new car," he added.
Mr O'Farrell said it was crucially important that used-car values remain as strong as possible to protect consumers' investments.
On the cross-sector skills shortage, he said apprentice training is a key focus as the industry tries to "develop and deliver solutions" to avoid even more serious problems in the future.
He said technological advances will reshape customers' transport needs and how they use cars in the future.
"This will change the industry beyond recognition, which means huge opportunities as we transition to a future that will be more focused on IT and technologies than on mechanical systems. These changes will provide huge opportunities."