Car production suffers as supplies stall

UK car production fell 11.3% in April with 60,554 units rolling off factory lines.

Acccording to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the ongoing global shortage of semi-conductors, the impact of the war in Ukraine on supply chains, model changes and broader industry structural changes all contributed to a volatile month’s output.

These factors also had a significant effect on year-on-year export comparisons, with the closure of a major UK car plant in 2021 continuing to impact export figures, particularly to the US, where 7,752 fewer cars were made in the month than a year before and the total was 14.7% below the April 2019 pre-pandemic level.

Meanwhile, six in 10 cars exported headed to the EU, representing a five per cent uplift in shipments, while production for the UK grew for the second month in a row, up a massive 60.1%. This substantial rise was primarily the result of new models coming to market, attracting buyers into showrooms, but is flattered by comparison with April 2021 when the economy was restarting after lockdown with demand subdued.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The UK car industry is exposed to a host of issues that are undermining output and competitiveness. Global chip shortages and supply chain disruption are exacerbated by spiralling energy costs, additional trading costs and slowing global markets. The foundations of the sector are strong and the transition to zero and ultra-low emission vehicles continues apace but we need more policies and measures that support manufacturing and encourage investment into the UK at this most challenging of times.”