UK car production rose by 9.9% in April, with 66,527 new models being built in the month. This was the third consecutive month of growth, and the highest level of production since January 2022.
The increase in production was driven by strong demand for exports, with 82.4% of cars built in the UK destined for overseas markets. The largest overseas market was the European Union, accounting for 58.4% of exports, followed by the US, China and Australia.
Domestic sales of cars fell by 8.3% in April, but this was still higher than the same month last year. The decline in domestic sales was likely due to the ongoing chip shortage, which has made it difficult for manufacturers to meet demand.
The UK remains a leader when it comes to production of electrified models, with combined volumes of EVs, hybrids and plug-in hybrids accounting for 37.7% of all vehicles made in April. This was likely driven by strong continued demand for hybrid versions of the Nissan Qashqai and Toyota Corolla, which are built in Sunderland and Derby respectively.
While the SMMT said the increase was “good news” for the UK car industry, it warned that more needed to be done to “safeguard the competitiveness of trading relationships”.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “UK car production is starting to motor again, and it’s good news for the sector and the many thousands of jobs and livelihoods it sustains.
“These figures also show how exports, particularly to Europe, continue to be the foundation of British automotive manufacturing so we must do all we can to safeguard the competitiveness of these trading relationships.
“Most immediately, this means finding a solution to the rules of origin challenge faced by manufacturers on both sides of the Channel, or else we risk the application of tariffs – and therefore unnecessary cost – on the very vehicles we are trying to encourage consumers to purchase.”
The news follows last week’s comments from car manufacturing giant Stellantis – owner of firms such as Vauxhall and Citroen – that it could close its UK manufacturing operations if the cost of making EVs here becomes uncompetitive.
“The UK car industry is facing a number of challenges, including the ongoing chip shortage, the rising cost of energy and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the UK’s trading relationship with the EU,” said Hawes. “However, the sector has a strong track record of resilience and innovation, and I am confident that it will continue to thrive in the years to come.”
The increase in production is good news for the UK car industry, as it shows that the sector is starting to recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The strong demand for exports is a positive sign, as it shows that the UK car industry is still competitive in global markets.
The decline in domestic sales is a concern, as it suggests that the UK car industry is still struggling to meet demand from UK consumers.
The UK remains a leader when it comes to production of electrified models, which is a positive sign for the future of the industry.
The SMMT’s warning that more needs to be done to “safeguard the competitiveness of trading relationships” is a reminder of the challenges that the UK car industry faces, including the ongoing chip shortage, the rising cost of energy and the uncertainty surrounding the future of the UK’s trading relationship with the EU.
Overall, the news story on UK car production is positive, but there are still some challenges that the industry needs to address.
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