UK car production falls 28% although exports prove resilient

UK car manufacturing fell almost 5% in November, although the sector’s export trade proved resilient.

Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show production declined 4.6% last month with the home market down more than 28%.

In all, 161,490 cars left British factories last month, although the number of vehicles destined for overseas markets increased compared with the same month last year.

The figures show that of the total number of vehicles produced, 137,214 were for export – an increase of 1.3%.

This equates to 85% of all the vehicles to leave the factories – the highest proportion of total output this year.

Cars destined for the home market dropped from 33,745 in November last year, to 24,276 this November – a decline of 28.1%.

Dwindling consumer confidence and further speculation over diesel emissions have been blamed for the poor performance.

For the year-to-date, more than 1.5 million cars have rolled off UK production lines, with nearly eight out of 10 destined for one of 160 global markets. While export volumes remain stable, production for the home market is down 9%, a reduction in overall output of 2% since January.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Brexit uncertainty, coupled with confusion over diesel taxation and air quality plans, continues to impact domestic demand for new cars and, with it, production output.

“Whilst it is good to see exports grow in November, this only reinforces how overseas demand remains the driving force for UK car manufacturing. Clarity on the nature of our future overseas trading relationships, including details on transition arrangements with the EU, is vital for future growth and success.”