Mixed results for UK automotive manufacturing

Posted on 19 Sep 2018 and read 426 times
Mixed results for UK automotive manufacturingAccording to the latest data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), UK engine production remained steady in July, increasing by a modest 1.0% compared with July 2017, with 194,974 units built.

Of these, 112,085 were exported (up 13.0% on July 2017), while 82,889 were destined for the home market (a fall of 11.6%).

Almost 1.7 million engines were built in the UK in first seven months of the year — an increase of 5.2% on the first seven months of last year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive (www.smmt.co.uk), said: “It is good to see previous significant investment in British engine technology and facilities continuing to pay dividends, with strong and growing global demand for our high-quality cutting-edge products.”

UK commercial-vehicle (CV) manufacturing increased by 12.8% in July 2018, with 7,331 vans, trucks, buses and coaches built; and while the number of CVs produced for the home market fell by 5.8% to 2,729 units, production for export more than compensated, rising by 27.8% to 4,602 vehicles and accounting for 62.8% of British CV manufacturers’ output.

In the first seven months of 2018, the number of commercial vehicles built for export grew 3.4% (compared with the first seven months of 2017) to reach 32,475 vehicles, but this was not enough to offset a 13.5% decline in output for the UK, where fluctuating buying cycles and business uncertainty continue to influence the market.

The total number of CVs built in the first seven months of 2018 was 48,793 — a fall of 3.0%.

Meanwhile, UK car production fell by 11.0% in July, with 121,051 units leaving production lines, as a raft of factors — including model changes, seasonal and operational adjustments and preparation for the introduction of the tough new emissions standards — affected output.

Production for export in July fell by 4.2%, while 35.0% fewer cars were built for the UK market. However, the SMMT says that these declines followed a particularly strong July in 2017, when the launch of several new models boosted output by almost 10,000 units and resulted in a substantial 17.7% rise in British demand for that month.

The sector appears to be broadly on track to meet 2018 expectations, with 955,453 cars built in the first seven months; and while production for the UK is currently down 16.0% compared with the first seven months of last year, exports remain strong, dipping by a modest 1.2% and accounting for 81.3% of all output.

Mr Hawes said: “While the industry is undoubtedly feeling the effects of recent uncertainty in the domestic market, drawing long- term conclusions from monthly snapshots requires a health warning.

“The bigger picture is complex, and month-by-month fluctuations are inevitable, as manufacturers manage product cycles, operational changes and the delicate balance of supply and demand from market to market.”

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