2018 has seen a steady decline of cars being manufactured in the UK. The trend continued in August, as the number dropped again. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), noted 89,254 cars came off the production line, 12.9% less than August 2017. Home market production dropped by 38% and 3.8% for exports. The unit number accounted for 16,271.
Around one million cars have been built in the UK this year, with four out of five being for export. Almost 850,000 cars were shipped abroad in the first eight months and 194,887 were built for the home market. This represents an 18.6% decline on the same period in 2017.
The SMMT have said there were a number of reasons for the decline, including model changes, planned maintenance shutdowns and preparation for the new emission standards. SMMT executive, Mike Hawes, said “the quieter summer months are often subject to fluctuations due to the variable timing and durable of annual maintenance and re-tooling shutdowns. This instability was exacerbated in August, with the industry racing to recertify entire model ranges to meet tougher testng standards to force on September 1st.”
“With exports, the majority to the EU, continuing to drive demand, it underscores the importance of a Brexit agreement to safeguard this trade. For our sector, no deal is not an option.”
The SMMT have issued various warnings about the risk to UK car manufacturing. The governing body has stated the “government must now maintain economic stability and secure a deal with the EU which safeguards UK automotive interests.”
UK-based Mini have issued a similar warning, saying that it will shut down its Oxford plant during the weeks after the March 2019 exit. This is being done to coincide with the expected Brexit-related supply issues.