Car production in the UK declined by 18.2 per cent in October versus a year ago, new figures from the SMMT show.
A total of 110,179 models rolled off production lines – 24,490 fewer than in October 2019 – the industry body said today (Nov 26).
The pandemic and fresh lockdowns in the UK as well as less subdued demand for new cars in many key markets abroad were to blame, it said.
And it was falling exports, particularly to the EU and United States, that largely drove the decline.
Shipments to the US were down by 26 per cent and by nearly the same – 25.7 per cent – to the EU, said the SMMT.
Exports to Japan and China rose by 57.1 per cent and 9.7 per cent respectively because of less stringent lockdown measures, but that wasn’t enough to offset losses elsewhere.
Production for the domestic market fell by 13.6 per cent to 18,629 units, with 2,921 fewer cars made for UK buyers than a year earlier.
Production since January is down by 33.8 per cent to 743,003 units – a year-on-year shortfall of 379,308 units worth around £10.4bn, according to the SMMT.
Chief executive Mike Hawes said: ‘These figures are yet more bad news for an industry battered by Covid, Brexit and, now, the unprecedented challenge of a complete shift to electrified vehicles in under a decade.
‘While the sector has demonstrated its resilience, we need the right conditions to remain competitive both as a manufacturing nation and a progressive market.
‘Yesterday’s Spending Review recognised the need to invest in a green industrial revolution, but this must be at globally competitive levels and equal to the scale of ambition to keep this sector match fit.
‘Above all, we must have a Brexit deal with zero tariffs, zero quotas and rules of origin that benefit existing products and the next generation of zero-emission cars, as well as a phase-in period that allows this transition to be ‘made in Britain”.’