Car production in the UK continues to fall new data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reveals, with the body saying the need for government support for the industry is now ‘critical’.
Just over 51,000 vehicles rolled off factory lines in August, down by 44.6 per cent on the same month last year.
The ongoing coronavirus crisis is stalling efforts to ramp up output with weak demand overseas compounded by heavy domestic losses, said the SMMT.
Production so far this year down by 40.2 per cent with a loss of 348,821 units worth more than £9.5bn to UK car makers
The slump is highlighted by an unusually strong August in 2019, when some car plants worked through the customary summer maintenance shutdown period to mitigate the then possible no-deal Brexit in March.
Production for UK buyers fell by 58 per cent in the month to just 7,795 units, while exports declined by 41 per cent with 73,443 vehicles produced.
Almost 85 per cent of all cars built in Britain in August were destined for other countries, underlining the importance to the sector and UK economy, said the SMMT.
The SMMT said support for the industry was now ‘critical’ as the UK braces for a second wave of coronavirus.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘These are increasingly disturbing times for UK car makers and suppliers with the coronavirus crisis weighing heavily on the sector.
‘Companies are bracing for a second wave with tighter social and business restrictions making the industry’s attempts to restart even more challenging.
‘The UK industry is fundamentally strong and agile, and the measures announced yesterday by the Chancellor are welcome and essential, although we await more details of how they will work for all businesses and crucially large manufacturers.
‘Moreover, with fewer than 100 days until the Brexit transition period ends, we need urgent agreement of an ambitious free trade deal with our largest market to avoid the second shock of crippling tariffs.’