Car production sinks to 60-year low

UK car production fell 9.8% in 2022 to 775,014 units, according to the latest figures issued by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

This represents the lowest total since the 1950s.

December rounded off a volatile year, with output down 17.9% in the month after growth in October and November.

The annual total was 84,561 units down on 2021 and 40.5% off the 1,303,135 cars made in 2019 pre-pandemic, equivalent to a loss of more than half a million cars.

Despite these challenges, UK factories turned out a record 234,066 battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) electric vehicles, with combined volumes up 4.5% year-on-year to represent almost a third (30.2%) of all car production.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: These figures reflect just how tough 2022 was for UK car manufacturing, though we still made more electric vehicles than ever before – high value, cutting edge models, in demand around the world. The potential for this sector to deliver economic growth by building more of these zero emission models is self-evident, however, we must make the right decisions now.

“This means shaping a strategy to drive rapid upscaling of UK battery production and the shift to electric vehicles based on the UK automotive sector’s fundamental strengths – a highly skilled and flexible workforce, engineering excellence, technical innovation and productivity levels that are amongst the best in Europe.”