Car production picks up in May

UK car production grew for the first time since June 2021 in May, up 13.3%.

According to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 62,284 units were produced in the month. However, output remains 46.3% below the pre-pandemic month in 2019, with ongoing supply chain issues, increasing economic uncertainty, rising business costs and disruption caused by the war in Ukraine.

Production for both overseas and domestic markets increased in May, by 8.9% and 39.5% respectively.

Meanwhile, output of battery electric vehicles increased by 108.3%, while more than one-in-five (22.6%) of all cars built last month was alternatively fuelled, up from 19.3% last year.

In the year to date, overall output has decreased by more than a fifth (23.2%) with 330,185 units built – a shortfall of some 99,641.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “May’s return to growth for UK car output is hugely welcome after 10 months of decline, indicating the sector’s fundamental resilience. Any recovery, however, will be gradual as supply chain deliveries remain erratic, business costs volatile and geopolitical instability still very real. With the industry racing to decarbonise, we need to safeguard manufacturing competitiveness, drive investment and develop the skill base. Government and industry have a role to play in this transformation and collaboration will be essential if the UK is to remain at the forefront of automotive innovation.”