Car production numbers rise for the first time in 15 months


The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reports that UK car manufacturing rose 3.3 per cent last month, with 92,158 units produced - the first increase in 15 months.

Several key plants that had brought forward planned summer shutdowns to April to guard against the disruption of the original March 29 EU withdrawal date kept production lines rolling throughout August.

However, this was not enough to compensate for April’s 56,999-unit loss, resulting in a 17 per cent deficit in the year to date.

866,918 cars were produced in the first eight months of the year – the first time output has dipped below one million units in the period since 2014 and the biggest year on year decline since 2011.

In August, production for the domestic market was up 15.2 per cent following a significant fall in the same month in 2018 when several factors, notably preparation for new EU-wide testing regulations, affected volumes.

This week, industry representatives from 17 of the EU’s biggest car producing and buying countries joined forces in united opposition to a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

The SMMT states that In the UK alone, just one minute of production stoppage caused by border delays would amount to £50,000 of lost value add – or £70 million a day.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

"While growth is always welcome, today’s figures mask the underlying downward trend and strengthening global headwinds facing the sector, including international trade tensions, massive technological upheaval and, in the UK, political and economic uncertainty.

"Softening of global demand is compounding the challenge to UK manufacturers for whom a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be a hammer blow. The mere threat of no deal has undermined investment and the potential imposition of tariffs, border delays and additional administrative burdens would damage competitiveness.

"We now need parliament and government to redouble efforts to get a deal that maintains free and frictionless trade. Given the ongoing challenges and costs being incurred, there is not a moment to lose."