As sales of foreign vehicles continue to rise, the Amalgamated Engineering and Electrical Union (AEEU) yesterday launched a campaign on behalf of nearly 800,000 workers to persuade public figures to buy British.
Yesterday the union "named and shamed" Birmingham City Council, in Britain's motor industry heartland, for buying 105 Citroen vans. The council said it saved more than pounds 160,000 of council tax payers' money by opting for foreign vehicles, but Sir Ken Jackson, the general secretary of the AEEU, said: "Birmingham of all places should be setting an example to the rest of the country and buying British.
"We should back our own workers and buy the cars they produce. Go to France and you will see French-built cars. If the French can do it, so can we."
Sir Ken said companies like Nissan and Toyota had invested billions of pounds in Britain creating thousands of jobs. "If we don't buy more of their cars, we won't get more investment," he said. The market share of British-built cars on UK roads dropped from 33 per cent in 1997 to 28.2 per cent this year, he said. In France, sales of French-built vehicles have gone up from 55.9 per cent of the market to 57.2 per cent in the same period.