UK Car Production Falls -37.6% In March

According to figures released by SMMT, UK car manufacturing fell -37.6% in March as the coronavirus crisis caused UK car plants to close. There has been more than 140 days-worth of lost production, and only 78,767 vehicles left factory gates during the month.

Output for the domestic market declined -36.8%, while exports fell -37.8%.

Exports were down -39.3% and -37.7% respectively.

Shipments to China rose 2.3% as lockdown measures began to ease.

If factories stay closed to the middle of May, analysis suggests that the crisis could result in a loss on some 257,000 units in 2020 across all UK plants. This amounts to an estimated cost to industry of some £8.2 billion, equivalent to around 20% of UK car makers’ combined annual turnover.

60.6% of the full time automotive manufacturing workforce is furloughed.

Just 17% of business interruption loan applicants reported success, 58% of respondents state they were ineligible or unsuitable.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “UK Automotive is fundamentally strong but, as these figures show, it is being tested like never before, with each week of shutdown costing the sector and economy billions. Government’s emergency measures are helping keep many companies afloat and thousands of people in jobs, but liquidity remains a major concern and will become even more stretched as the industry begins to restart. To get production lines rolling, we need a package of measures that supports the entire industry. We need coordination and collaboration with government, the workforce and wider stakeholders to unlock the sector in a safe and sustainable way. This will include new workplace guidance, additional measures to ease cash-flow and help furloughed colleagues back to work, as well as demand-side measure to help encourage customers back into the market. This should be seen as long-term investment into the underlying competitiveness of an industry critical to the health of the economy and the livelihoods of thousands of households right across the UK.”

For more information, head over to SMMT.