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UK car production down 17% YtD despite August rise

A rise in UK car production for August has only marginally stemmed the spring Brexit shutdown losses, leaving the market to record a double-digit decline for the year to date.

UK car production rose 3.3% in August, to 92,158 units, but the growth didn’t offset April’s substantial losses

The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that UK car production hit 92,158 units in August, with the 3.3% increase marking the first rise in 15 months.

While the increase equated to some 2,903 cars, it was not enough to compensate for April’s 56,999-unit loss – the result of the carmakers bringing forward their summer shutdowns to coincide with the initial Brexit date – or the downturn in previous months.

And as a result, the market is down 17% (or 177,961 units) for the year to date, with 866,918 cars produced in the first eight months of the year – the first time output has dipped below one million units in the period since 2014, and the biggest year-on-year decline since 2011.

This has led the UK car industry to make repeated urgent calls for a Brexit deal to maintain competitiveness and safeguard jobs, as it also highlights rising challenges in other areas, including international trade tensions, massive technological upheaval and, in the UK, political and economic uncertainty.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, added: “Softening of global demand is compounding the challenge to UK manufacturers for whom a ‘no deal’ Brexit would be a hammer blow. The mere threat of no deal has undermined investment and the potential imposition of tariffs, border delays and additional administrative burdens would damage competitiveness. We now need parliament and government to redouble efforts to get a deal that maintains free and frictionless trade. Given the ongoing challenges and costs being incurred, there is not a moment to lose.”

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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.