May sees UK car manufacturing decline for 12th consecutive month

UK car manufacturing has declined for the 12th consecutive month, with May seeing a 15.5 per cent drop compared with last year.

Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) shows a total of 116,035 new cars built in the UK last month — down from 137,274 in May 2018.

It represents a year-to-date decline of 21 per cent in comparison with the same period previous, with 557,295 vehicles made so far in 2019, while 2018 saw 705,774 constructed at this point. SMMT says factory shutdowns intended to soften the blow of a March Brexit date is partly to blame for this.

Of those cars built, 22,180 were produced for the home market — 25.9 per cent less than May 2018’s 29,932 — while cars destined for export fell from 107,342 to 93,855 in a 12.6 per cent drop.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “12 consecutive months of decline for UK car manufacturing is a serious concern and underlines yet again the importance of securing a Brexit deal quickly. The sector is facing multiple seismic challenges simultaneously: technological, environmental and economic.

“The ongoing political instability and uncertainty over our future overseas trade relationships, most notably with Europe, is not helping and, while the industry’s fundamentals remain strong, a brighter future is only possible if we secure a deal that can help us regain our reputation as an attractive location for automotive investment. No deal is not an option.”