The Rt. Hon. Sir John Major KG CH

Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland 1990-1997

1994Prime Minister (1990-1997)

Mr Major’s Speech at the International Motor Show – 19 October 1994

Below is the text of Mr Major’s opening speech at the International Motor Show at NEC Birmingham on Wednesday 19th October 1994.


I am delighted to be here today. The British International Motor Show has become an enduring institution and an important day in the calendar. For thousands of families and individuals who will visit the Show it is more than just a day out. It is a chance to see the latest in that marvel of science, engineering, design and art – that we call – the motor car.

For the industry, it is a prestige opportunity for the world’s car manufacturers to show their paces, their latest and their best. I am delighted that among such company, Britain’s car manufacturing industry should now be so prominent and so successful.

I share your enthusiasm and optimism for the future of car manufacturing. Who could not, in a week which started with Rover announcing another 1450 new jobs at its UK factories? Jobs that reflect the company’s ever increasing success in European and world markets.

The new manufacturers who have invested here in recent years are also setting the pace. Family cars, built in Sunderland, selling in Tokyo. Honda who have doubled their export earnings from their British operations, bringing in over £300 million last year. Toyota exporting three out of every four cars made at Burnaston. These are the outward and visible symbols of the renaissance of Britain’s car industry. A renaissance that has become the model of some of the best management, production and workforces anywhere in the world.

And it is not just the car manufacturers. Look under the bonnet of many “foreign” cars and the components will be British. Bought worldwide because they are the best in the world.

Mr President, you have entitled this Show “For the Family For the Future”. The car has long since ceased to be the preserve of the wealthy elite. It has become truly the people’s technology, giving choice and freedom to all. But a freedom which you are balancing with responsibility, with continual improvements in safety and concern for the environment. For all these reasons, I am very confident about the industry’s future.

So today, it is with pleasure and keen expectation that I have come to see the latest ideas and products from what has become, again, one of the great manufacturing industries in the UK.

We all want to see what’s on display and so, now, I have great pleasure in declaring the 70th British International Motor Show open.