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UK car production down 15.6% in 2019

UK car production resumed its downward trend in September – bringing the year-to-date performance down 15.6% as political and economic turmoil continues to hit the sector.

Honda of the UK Manufacturing, Civic

UK production fell 3.8% in September and 15.6% for the first nine months of 2019

The 3.8% fall last month countered the 3.3% increase seen in August and saw the total output fall to 122,256 units, almost 5,000 fewer than September last year.

The latest figures mark a 15-month period of decline for the sector, with August providing the only bright spot as several key plants kept production lines running after moving the traditional annual shutdown period to April due to the original 29 March Brexit date.

September figures show manufacturing for both domestic and overseas markets declined; down 5.1% and 3.4% respectively.

As a result of the September downturn, year-to-date output is down 15.6%, marking the weakest first three quarters since 2011 and illustrating the impact of the multiple challenges currently facing UK Automotive.

The figures have been published on the day the UK was due to leave the EU; the industry continues to call for end to uncertainty and an ambitious future relationship based on tariff-free and frictionless trade.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented: “Another bitterly disappointing month reflects domestic and international market contraction. Most worrying of all though is the continued threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, something which has caused international investment to stall and cost UK operations hundreds of millions of pounds, money that would have better been spent in meeting the technological challenges facing the global industry.

“A general election may ultimately provide some certainty, but does not yet remove the spectre of no deal which will continue to inhibit the UK industry’s prospects unless we can agree and implement a new, ambitious and permanent relationship that safeguards free and frictionless trade.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. Natalie edits all the Fleet World websites and newsletters, and loves to hear about any latest industry news.