Car manufacturing suffers July slump

UK car manufacturing fell for the first time since February, with output dropping 37.6% in July.

According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, just 53,438 units were made, representing the worst July performance since 1956 as manufacturers grappled with the global shortage of semiconductors and staff absence resulting from the ‘pingdemic’.

In July production for the UK market declined 38.7% to 8,233 while manufacturing for export also fell, down 37.4% with 45,205 cars shipped overseas.

More than a quarter (26%) of all cars made in July were either battery electric (BEV), plug in hybrid (PHEV) or hybrid electric (HEV), their highest share on record, and meaning that UK car factories have turned out 126,757 of these important products since the start of the year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “These figures lay bare the extremely tough conditions UK car manufacturers continue to face. While the impact of the ‘pingdemic’ will lessen as self-isolation rules change, the worldwide shortage of semiconductors shows little sign of abating.

“The UK automotive industry is doing what it can to keep production lines going, testament to the adaptability of its workforce and manufacturing processes, but government can help by continuing the supportive Covid measures currently in place and boosting our competitiveness with a reduction in energy levies and business rates for a sector that is strategically important in delivering net zero.”