UK car production: January figures hit 13 year low

UK car production: January figures hit 13 year low

02/25/2022

Manufacturing falls 20.1 per cent to 68,790 units in January 2022 as semiconductor shortage continues to cause disruption


Car manufacturing in the UK has seen its worst January since 2009 with 68,790 cars rolling off production lines in January 2022 – 20.1 per cent fewer than in the same month last year.

The fall is even worse in view of the fact that January 2021 was one of the weakest on record due to friction in the then-new post-Brexit trading arrangements, extended factory shutdowns, and Covid-19 disruption.

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The difficulties faced this time around were driven mainly by the ongoing global semiconductor shortage. This was exacerbated, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says, by the closure of Honda Swindon in July 2021 and production variations from some popular UK car models being changed over.

In more positive news, there was a continued shift towards alternatively fuelled vehicles, with EVs now accounting for one in 11 cars built in the UK. Electric, hybrid and plug-in hybrids combined accounted for more than a quarter of cars produced in January 2022.

Production for both the overseas and domestic markets fell year-on-year, however, by 17.5 per cent and 30.8 per cent respectively. Exports accounted for more than 80 per cent of cars made.

Some 59.1 per cent of exported cars went to the EU, while 10.4 per cent went to China and 10 per cent were sent to the US.

The SMMT now estimates that 979,000 cars will be built in the UK in 2022; this would represent a 14.4 per cent increase on 2021.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, commented: “It’s another torrid start to the year as global supply issues and structural changes squeeze output while model changes impact production scheduling.

“The UK automotive manufacturing industry is, however, fundamentally strong and recent investment announcements are testament to the potential for growth, not least in terms of rising EV production.

“Long-term recovery can only be delivered, however, if global competitiveness is assured and for that we must address both inflationary and fixed costs, most obviously escalating energy prices, but also fiscal and trading costs. Every measure must be taken if we are to secure a bright, electrified future for our world-class automotive manufacturing base and the high skilled, high value jobs it creates across Britain.”

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