UK car production plummets in July, lowest since 1956

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UK car manufacturing output fell  by 37.6 per cent in July, the first fall since February, with just 53,438 units made, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

It represented the worst July performance since 1956 as manufacturers grappled with the global shortage of semiconductors and staff absence resulting from the ‘pingdemic’, with some altering summer shutdown timings to help manage the situation.

In July production for the UK market declined by 38.7 per cent to 8,233 while manufacturing for export also fell, down by 37.4 per cent with 45,205 cars shipped overseas. Exports accounted for more than eight out of 10 vehicles built in the month as buyers around the world continued to be attracted to the wide range of high-quality cars made in Britain, including the latest alternatively fuelled models.

More than a quarter of all cars made in July were either battery electric, plug in hybrid or hybrid electric, their highest share on record, and meaning that UK car factories have turned out 126,757 since the start of the year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “These figures lay bare the extremely tough conditions UK car manufacturers continue to face. While the impact of the ‘pingdemic’ will lessen as self-isolation rules change, the worldwide shortage of semiconductors shows little sign of abating.

“The UK automotive industry is doing what it can to keep production lines going, testament to the adaptability of its workforce and manufacturing processes, but Government can help by continuing the supportive Covid measures currently in place and boosting our competitiveness with a reduction in energy levies and business rates for a sector that is strategically important in delivering net zero,” he added on August 26.

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Written by

Deirdre Tynan

Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.


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