SMMT reports first decline in UK car production since August

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UK car production declined in March, down -27.1% year on year to 59,467 units, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

While this marks the first fall since August last year, it aligns with expectations for a variable year as manufacturers adjust factories to produce new cars, notably electric. UK car and light van production are expected to fall -6.2% to some 940,000 units this year, returning to growth in 2025.

Bank holidays also had a role to play as there were fewer working days this March than in March 2023.

Volumes for the UK declined -0.3% to 19,995 units in March. More than 6 in 10 cars made in March were shipped overseas. Electrified vehicle volumes represented over a third of all production with manufacturers producing a combined 22,865 units.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:This fall is not unexpected given the wholesale changes taking place within UK car factories as existing models are run out and more plants transition to electric vehicle production.

“We can expect further volatility throughout 2024 as manufacturers lay the foundations for a successful zero emission future. Recent investment announcements have boosted confidence and enhanced the UK’s reputation but there needs to be an unrelenting commitment to competitiveness.

“Free and fair trade deals must be secured, energy costs reduced and the workforce upskilled if we are to attract further investment to improve productivity and decarbonise automotive manufacturing and its supply chain.”

Overall, UK car production remained up 1.1% in the first quarter, at 222,371 units, with a 33.9% rise in output for the UK.



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