SMMT have warned that the UK automotive industry is on ‘red alert’ after a fall in investment, production and registration.

Falling to its lowest level in 5 years, 1,519,440 new cars left UK factories – a decline of 9.1%

Fresh inward investment in the sector plummeted in the year – down 46.5% on 2017 to just £588.6m.

Production in the UK in 2018 fell 16.3% as regulatory changes and ongoing uncertainty over future diesel policy and taxation were exacerbated by declining consumer and business confidence. As well as this, UK car exports China slumped -24.5%, while EU demand fell by -9.6% and registrations of British-built cars in the UK down -20.9% in the year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ‘With fewer than 60 days before we leave the EU and the risk of crashing out without a deal looking increasingly real, UK automotive is on red alert. Brexit uncertainty has already done enormous damage to output, investment and jobs.

‘Yet this is nothing compared with the permanent devastation caused by severing our frictionless trade links overnight, not just with the EU but with the many other global markets with which we currently trade freely.

‘Given the global headwinds, the challenges to the sector are immense. Brexit is the clear and present danger and, with thousands of jobs on the line, we urge all parties to do whatever it takes to save us from ‘no deal’.