British car production fell for the 12th month in a row in May, as output declined by 15.5%. Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that 116,035 units were produced — 21,239 fewer than in May 2018.
Moreover, demand both at home and abroad fell by double-digit percentages after a ‘softening’ in the UK and key global markets, along with the effects of model changes.
In May, manufacturing for domestic buyers fell by 25.9%, while overseas orders were down 12.6%. That said, exports still accounted for 80.9% of all cars made.
In the first five months of 2019, UK car production was down 21.0% compared with the first five months of 2018, with 557,295 new models rolling off production lines.
That said, contributing to this decline was the fact that some manufacturers brought their summer shutdowns forward to April (in anticipation of the expected late-March date for the UK to leave the EU).
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes (www.smmt.co.uk
) said: “12 consecutive months of decline for UK car manufacturing is a serious concern.
The sector is facing multiple seismic challenges simultaneously — technological, environmental and
The on-going political instability and uncertainty over our future overseas trade relationships, most notably with Europe, are not helping; and while the industry’s fundamentals remain strong, a brighter future is only possible if we secure a deal that can help us regain our reputation as an attractive location for automotive investment.”
Meanwhile, UK commercial-vehicle (CV) manufacturing fell by 69.9% in May, with 2,110 vehicles produced.
This substantial decline was attributed largely to key model change-overs.
Production fell for both home and overseas markets, down 35.6% and 84.8% respectively, highlighting the sector’s reliance on exports.
British engine manufacturing also suffered in May, falling 10.1% compared with May 2018 and marking a ninth successive month of decline.
Demand from home and international markets was down by 7.8% and 11.5% respectively, with six in 10 engines shipped to overseas factories.