October 19, 2019

‘Strong global headwinds’ drag UK car production down almost 20% | Business News


The number of cars made in Britain this year has fallen by almost 20% compared to the same time last year, new figures show.

So far this year, there have been 774,760 cars made in Britain, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This is 180,864 fewer than at the same time last year – a fall of 18.9%.

The SMMT said the decline in export orders was “primarily responsible”, with overseas shipments falling 20.2% since January, while production for the UK this year to date is down by 13.5%.

Meanwhile, figures also show that July saw the 14th consecutive month of falling vehicle production.

There were 108,239 vehicles made in the UK last month, a fall of 10.6% compared to July last year.

This was despite domestic demand increasing by 10.2% – or just under 2,000 vehicles – when compared to a weak July 2018.

Production for export, however, fell by 14.6% over the same period, even though eight in every 10 cars made were shipped overseas.

An employee fits the wiring loom to a Mini at the BMW Mini car production plant in Oxford, west of London, on January 17, 2017
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The SMMT says the industry needs a Brexit deal – and quickly

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said the decline was due to an “ongoing weakness in major EU and Asian markets coupled with some key model changes”.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said the decline was “a serious concern”.

He added: “The sector is overwhelmingly reliant on exports and the global headwinds are strong, with escalating trade tensions, softening demand and significant technological change.

“With the UK market also weak, the importance of maintaining the UK’s global competitiveness has never been more important so we need a Brexit deal – and quickly – to unlock investment and safeguard the long term future of a sector which has recently been such an international success story.”

Some 168,000 people are directly employed in car manufacturing, with a further 823,000 in the wider automotive industry, the SMMT says.

It accounts for 14.4% of total UK export of goods.



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