COVID-19 causes UK car production fall

Published:  30 April, 2020

UK car manufacturing fell 37.6% in March, as the Coronavirus crisis shut factories according to figures released today (Thursday 30 April) by the SMMT. Just 78,767 vehicles left factory gates in the month, some 47,428 fewer than the previous year, as the coronavirus crisis caused UK car plants to close, resulting in more than 140 days-worth, in total, of lost production.

Output for the domestic market declined 36.8%, while exports fell 37.8% as the pandemic forced showrooms to close around the world. Independent analysis suggests that the crisis could result in a loss of some 257,000 units this year across all UK plants if factories stay closed to the middle of May. This amounts to an estimated cost to industry of some £8.2 billion, equivalent to around 20% of UK car makers’ combined annual turnover.   SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes 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.”

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