Bentley on the production lineBentley on the production line


UK car production fell by nearly 10% in August after six months of growth

  • A total of 45,052 cars rolled off factory lines – a 9.7 per cent fall
  • It brought an end to six consecutive months of growth
  • Fall is not ’cause for concern’, says SMMT

Time 7:33 am, September 28, 2023

UK car production fell by nearly 10 per cent in August – but the drop is ‘not a cause for concern’, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has said.

A total of 45,052 cars rolled off factory lines last month – a drop of 9.7 per cent, bringing an end to six consecutive months of growth.

August typically has the fewest number of cars built because of summer shutdowns.

But last month was affected by extended production pauses at some plants for planned maintenance and upgrades as car makers gear up to produce the next generation of electric vehicles.

Production for the domestic market fell by a quarter while output for export dropped by 5.5 per cent, driven largely by a decline in shipments to the US, China and Japan.

The EU remained the UK’s biggest global market with almost six in 10 exports heading for the bloc.

In the year to date, overall production has increased by 11.8 per cent to 571,671 units.

In August combined volumes of electrified vehicles rose by 2.8 per cent to represent nearly two in five of all cars made, equivalent to 16,511 units.

Since January, car makers have built 216,922 of these vehicles, 84,310 more than last year, which the SMMT said was evidence of the UK’s capability to be a leader in zero emission production.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: ‘After six straight months of growth, a decline in UK car output in what is always the smallest and most variable volume month is not a cause for concern.

‘With car manufacturers taking advantage of the summer holiday season to upgrade their plants, this is part of an ongoing commitment to deliver the next generation of electric vehicles, with a record number of these models already being made.’

The SMMT chief also reiterated the car industry’s desires to stall the implementation of planned tougher rules of origin, saying: ‘To secure future investment, however, we need business certainty, not least a UK-EU agreement to delay tougher rules of origin that would damage the competitiveness of electric vehicles in both the European and British markets and concrete details from the UK government on the regulation compelling the sale of EVs in Britain.

‘Both are due to commence in less than 100 days and are essential to business planning and investment for 2024 and beyond.’

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. In October 2021 he became Car Dealer's associate editor.

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