Should The Police Give Preferential Treatment?
Back in September 2010, after a two-year long tender process, car maker Hyundai was awarded ‘preferred supplier’ status by the National Association of Police Fleet Managers meaning that all UK police forces were able to purchase Hyundai cars and vans.
Each area have their own choice as to what they spend their money on, and now the North West's police forces have caused outrage among workers at Vauxhall in Ellesmere Port by switching to Hyundai for their new cars.
With the Ellesmere Port plant in danger of closure by its owners General Motors, the choice by the ‘local’ force to use a foreign car manufacturer’s product has angered local politicians and unions wanting to know why they're putting millions into the economy of another country when David Cameron, in a visit to India recently, was urging that country to buy British.
Lindsay Hoyle, Labour MP for Chorley said: “This is bad for the North-West and bad for the country. It doesn’t make sense.” Yet Cheshire police say that by buying 40 new cars from Hyundai it saves them £150,000 a year, as the government continues to cut budgets.
Not all forces are going Korean. The National Association of Police Fleet Managers released a statement saying: “The UK police fleet comprises of almost 50,000 cars – around a fifth of which are being replaced. Most regions actually selected Vauxhall apart from two – the North-West being one of them.”
But, at a time that General Motors are said to being ready to "bite the bullet" in Europe to stem losses on the Continent, should the North-West police be giving preferential treatment to suppliers in the UK?
In China, the Beijing government is considering plans to stop using foreign brands as state cars and only use local manufacturers instead.
According to a proposal from the Ministry of Industry and Information technology, all 412 models approved for purchase will have to be Chinese brands; which will benefit FAW (builders of the quizzically named Hongqi) and Red Flag, makers of Chairman Mao’s custom-built limousine back in 1958.
Not such good news for General Motors and VW, whose Audis account for around a third of the government and State fleets, and definitely not for the cadres and bureaucrats who treasure their Audis and GM cars.
Quality has improved in the Chinese motor manufacturing industry, but not to the standard of western creations, so they have a lot of catching up to do. But it seems to be the thin end of the wedge to force local overseas car makers out of a very lucrative £8.2 billion section of the world’s biggest car market.
Maybe this is what the North-West police force should be considering when it comes to car supply, or is it the government’s fault for cutting budgets so severely?