Astra assembly line at Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port. July 6, 2021, via PAAstra assembly line at Vauxhall plant in Ellesmere Port. July 6, 2021, via PA

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Car manufacturing drops by nearly 12% but electrified models enjoy growth

  • UK car manufacturing output fell by 11.9% in May, says SMMT
  • Almost 70,000 cars were made last month
  • Domestic output rose by nearly 10% but exports were down by more than 17%
  • Electrified vehicle production up by three percentage points on last year

Time 9:27 am, June 27, 2024

Car manufacturing fell by almost 12% in May with nearly 70,000 units rolling off production lines, the SMMT said today.

Its figures for last month show that 69,652 cars were made – a drop of 11.9% on May 2023’s figure of 79,046.

Production for the UK market rose by 9.7% to 17,754 units, but that failed to offset a 17.4% decline in volumes for export at 51,898 units.


Nearly three-quarters (74.5%) of all cars built in Britain were exported, with more than half (52.5%) going to the EU followed by the US (18.2%) and Turkey, which took 8.0% of shipments.

Electrified vehicle (battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid) production remained robust, said the SMMT, with 26,475 units leaving factories – almost two-fifths (38.0%) of all output and up by three percentage points versus May 2023.

The trade body said that the share will only grow as manufacturers invest in greener product lines and technology to deliver Britain’s net zero ambitions.


But it also warned: ‘As countries around the world continue to compete for such investment in their own industries, the UK must do all it can to position itself ahead of the competition.’

The SMMT wants the next government to back British manufacturing and attract green investment to deliver growth worth an estimated £50bn over the next 10 years.

Success would see UK factories producing more than a million battery-electric cars and vans a year, it said.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘Massive change is under way in the UK’s car factories as manufacturers retool for new electric models.

‘Amid strong international competition for green automotive investment, however, the UK needs to ensure it has the most attractive conditions for manufacturing businesses and a compelling offer for existing and new investors.

‘Essential to this is a long-term industrial strategy, which encompasses all industry, all stakeholders and all of government in the pursuit of sustainable and green growth.’

Stock picture used for illustrative purposes. Credit: Peter Byrne/PA Archive/PA Images

John Bowman's avatar

John has been with Car Dealer since 2013 after spending 25 years in the newspaper industry as a reporter then a sub-editor/assistant chief sub-editor on regional and national titles. John is chief sub-editor in the editorial department, working on Car Dealer, as well as handling social media.



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