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UK car production falls 18.2% in January

British car production plummeted 18.2% in January, marking the eighth month running of decline and prompting the UK auto industry to say again that a no-deal Brexit must be taken off the table.

Nissan Sunderland

Recent research found that a third of auto firms with UK operations said they’d postponed or cancelled UK investment decisions due to Brexit

The latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show British car factories turned out 120,649 units in January, with demand down 4.8% for the domestic market and 21.4% for overseas; the latter due to further reductions in Asian and European markets.

It follows recent SMMT research that found almost a third of auto firms with UK operations said they had postponed or cancelled UK investment decisions because of Brexit, with one in five having already lost business as a direct consequence. More than half of firms said contingency plans are now being executed, with over one in 10 (12.4%) relocating UK operations overseas and the same proportion already reducing employee headcount.

Commenting on the latest manufacturing figures, Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Another month of decline is a serious concern. The industry faces myriad challenges, from falling demand in key markets, to escalating global trade tensions and the need to stay at the forefront of future technology. But, the clear and present danger remains the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit, which is monopolising time and resources, undermining competitiveness. Every day a ‘no deal’ Brexit remains a possibility is another day automotive companies pay the price in additional and potentially pointless costs. ‘No deal’ must be taken off the table immediately and permanently.”

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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.