UK car manufacturing falls by nearly 21 per cent in July as factories begin to open again after lockdown

Time 1 year ago

UK car manufacturing output fell by just under 21 per cent in July, new figures show.

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show 85,696 cars rolled off UK production lines in July – down 20.8 per cent on July 2019 when 108,239 cars were built.

The SMMT said July saw the ramp up of production continue, as global lockdown measures eased and nearly all factories reopened, however, social distancing measures and ongoing economic uncertainty still stifled output.


July was a better month than May and June, however the month still fell by a dramatic 37.1 per cent year-on-year, with just 13,434 units leaving factory gates.

Manufacturing for export also fell, but by a slightly less substantial 16.8 per cent to total 72,262 units. Exports accounted for more than eight out of 10 vehicles built in July with buyers in overseas markets, including the EU, China and the US, attracted to the latest cutting-edge UK-built models.

In the year to date, the impact of the pandemic on key markets, including the UK, means that overall production remains down 39.7 per cent, representing a year-on-year loss of 307,707 cars.

Overseas shipments in the first seven months are also down 38.5 per cent to 381,273 units, with production for the UK market falling 44.5 per cent to 85,780.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘As key global markets continue to re-open and UK car plants gradually get back to business, these figures are a marked improvement on the previous three months, but the outlook remains deeply uncertain.

‘With the sector now battling economic recession as well as a global pandemic, it has neither the time nor capacity to deal with the further shock of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

‘The impact of tariffs on the sector and the  hundreds of thousands of livelihoods it supports would be devastating, so we need negotiators on both sides to pull out all of the stops to ensure a comprehensive free trade deal is agreed and in place before the end of 2020.’

Hawes appeared on Car Dealer Live last week and explained how showrooms will have fewer new models in 2021, and show the SMMT is keeping all lines of dialogue open with the government over a stimulus package for the car industry.

You can watch the full interview at the top of this story

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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