Subdued demand sees 18% fall in UK car production

UK car production fell by more than 18% in April with demand for vehicles from the home market subdued, latest figures have shown.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show 122,116 cars were made last month, a decrease of 18.2% compared with April 2016.

A combination of falling consumer confidence, a late Easter bank holiday affecting production and the announcement of the general election have all been cited as factors affecting volumes.

Despite the decline, year-to-date production remains strong with 593,796 cars produced so far in 2017 – a 1% increase on the same period last year and the highest figure for the first four months of the year since 2000.

Demand from overseas buyers continues to drive growth, up 3.5% so far this year and offsetting a fall at home of 7%.

In total 76.8% of all cars made in the UK since January have been shipped abroad, with the majority going into the EU.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Car production fell significantly in April due to the later Easter bank holiday weekend which reduced the number of active production days that month and also due to unplanned production adjustments.

“Overall, British car manufacturing remains in good health with the production outlook still very positive and significant new models due to go into UK production shortly.

“To guarantee future growth and investment into our industry and its vital supply chain, however, we need the next government to safeguard the conditions that have made us globally competitive, keeping us open and trading and delivering an ambitious industrial strategy for our sector.”

The SMMT has outlined its priorities for the next government in a new document, UK Automotive Priorities, Securing the Strength of the UK Automotive Industry 2017 – 2022. The document sets out what is required to ensure the ongoing success of a crucial sector that supports 814,000 jobs nationwide and has an annual turnover of £71.6bn.

UK Automotive Priorities 2017- 2022

1.     A globally competitive business environment to support investment, growth and job creation.
2.     A new trading relationship with the EU which safeguards the interests of UK Automotive.
3.    An ambitious industrial strategy delivering for automotive as a strategic sector.
4.    A holistic strategy to support sustainable mobility and ULEV uptake.
5.    Effective policies to ensure the UK secures the benefits of digitalisation.