SMMT calls again for “ambitious” EU trade deal as UK car production drops 16.5% in November

Car output – rolling year totals (Source: SMMT)

Car production in the UK fell by 16.5 per cent year-on-year in November, with figures from the Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showing that 107,753 units were manufactured during the month. Output for home and overseas markets declined 26.6 per cent and 14.2 per cent respectively.

The SMMT opines that production was impacted by a combination of trends seen throughout the year, including soft consumer and business confidence, weak demand in overseas markets and model production changes.

It sees an additional factor in the poor performance in November – planned factory shutdowns in late October/early November to mitigate against the disruption of a potential no-deal Brexit on 31 October. These stoppages occurred in addition to those in April, when car production fell 44.5 per cent. The SMMT comments that Brexit contingency measures have cost the automotive sector more than £500 million so far.

UK car production has now fallen in 17 of the last 18 months. In the year to date, meanwhile, volumes are down 14.5 per cent to 1,231,679 units, with by far the majority (80.8 per cent) heading abroad and most of these exports (54.7 per cent) into the EU, still by far the largest trading partner for the UK automotive industry.

“UK car production is export-led, so we look forward to working with the new government to deliver an ambitious trade deal with the EU,” says Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive. “To ensure our competitiveness at a time of dramatic technological change, that deal needs to be tariff free and avoid barriers to trade, which, for automotive, means that our standards must be aligned. This can be achieved if government and industry work in partnership to re-establish the UK as a great place to invest and ensure that automotive keeps delivering for Britain.”

(Source: SMMT)

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