UK vehicle manufacturing at three-year low as carmakers halt production

The UK’s manufacturing output suffered badly in the three months to June, driven by car manufacturers’ Brexit-related factory shutdowns.

Business lobbying group the CBI reported that overall output was up just two per cent, as car manufacturers brought forward planned seasonal plant closures to align with previous Brexit deadlines.

Motor vehicle manufacturing was down 83 per cent for the period, said the CBI, calling it “the largest contraction in motor vehicle production since the financial crisis”.

Tom Crotty, chairman of the CBI Manufacturing Council, said: “Manufacturers are proving highly resilient in the difficult circumstances they face, but these results are further evidence of how ongoing Brexit uncertainty is holding back growth in key industries.

“The first item in the new prime minister’s in-tray must be to quickly resolve the Brexit deadlock. We can then look forward to working with the new government to address long-term challenges and identify new opportunities to enhance productivity in the sector.”

The CBI reports that despite the uninspiring headline figures for UK manufacturing that were driven by the huge decline in car production, 10 of the other 16 sub-sectors saw growth.

While car production has fallen massively, new vehicle registrations have proved fairly resistant to market uncertainty. Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders show 1,045,824 cars were registered this year up to the end of May – down just three per cent on the same period in 2018.