SMMT chief executive Mike HawesSMMT chief executive Mike Hawes

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SMMT posts huge loss for 2020 as pandemic sees profits obliterated

  • SMMT announces pre-tax loss of £924,000 for 2020
  • Figure represents a decline of 128 per cent compared to pre-pandemic 2019
  • Turnover also fell by 12 per cent in tough year for trade body

Time 4 weeks ago

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has announced a pre-tax loss of close to £1m for 2020 after profits evaporated as a result of the pandemic.

Accounts published via Companies House show that the trade body lost an eye-watering £934,000 in the 12 months up to December 31, 2020.

The figure represents a 128 per cent fall from the pre-pandemic 2019 when the organisation made a pre-tax profit of £3.26m.


The SMMT was hit hard by the effects of the pandemic, as well as Brexit, with car sales down were down 29 per cent to 1.63m last year.

UK vehicle manufacturing also saw a slump of 29 per cent to 921,000 units.

As a result, the SMMT’s turnover fell from £19,260,000 in 2019 to £16,980,000 in 2020 – a drop of around 12 per cent.

Of that revenue, £6,433,000 came from subscriptions, with the Motor Vehicle Registration Information System generating a further £3,589,000 in income.


In addition to that, SMMT Industry Forum raised £1,765,000 with seminars and functions bringing in £2,014,000.

Meanwhile, staff costs rose from £9,862,000 to £10,048,000, adding to the financial strain on the SMMT.

It did receive some help however, with the government providing £267,000 in furlough cash via its job retention scheme.

The accounts also showed that the firm spent £601,000 on directors’ emoluments with the highest paid director paid £424,000 compared to £415,000 in 2019.

In a statement included in the accounts, Mike Hawes, CEO of the SMMT, said the body – and the industry as a whole – is now facing some huge challenges.

He said: ‘The global automotive sector continues to work in an ever more challenging environment.

‘The shift to electrification has been accelerated by the November 2020 government announcement to end sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030.

‘Digitalization connectivity, autonomy and e-mobility remain high level focus areas as well as ongoing environmental and competitive economic pressures.

‘For the UK, there has also been a full unwinding of the exit from the EU to consider, with much detail still to be refined and improved.

‘The SMMT’s activity will also be focused on the broad industry issues to be managed, including decisions on visibility in key overseas markets and regulatory capitals.’

Image: Mike Hawes, CEO of the SMMT

Jack Williams's avatar

Jack joined the Car Dealer team in 2021 as a staff writer. He previously worked as a national newspaper journalist for BNPS Press Agency. He has provided news and motoring stories for a number of national publications including The Sun, The Times and The Daily Mirror.

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