UK car manufacturing was down 20.8 per cent in July

Car manufacturing in the UK fell 20.8 per cent in July as factories worked to ramp up output following pandemic-related shutdowns.

During the month, 85,696 units rolled off production lines, with industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) saying social distancing measures and economic uncertainty continue to stifle output.

SMMT figures for car production in July 2020
SMMT figures for car production in July 2020

Most car dealerships had reopened by July, so production for the UK market was up dramatically compared with May and June. However, it was down 37.1 per cent year-on-year with just 13,434 units destined for UK customers.

Manufacturing for export fell too, but at 16.8 per cent the dip was less significant, seeing 72,262 units headed abroad.

Year-to-date figures are also down significantly, with production at 39.7 per cent, representing 307,707 fewer cars leaving production lines. Overseas shipments are down 38.5 per cent, while UK production is down 44.5 per cent.

With 9 out of 10 automotive companies unable to plan for the end of the transition period, #Brexit uncertainty is having an ever more serious impact on the jewel in the crown of #British manufacturing, the 800,000 strong automotive sector @SMMT@FT@unitetheunion

— Jack Dromey MP (@JackDromeyMP) August 27, 2020

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “As key global markets continue to re-open and UK car plants gradually get back to business, these figures are a marked improvement on the previous three months, but the outlook remains deeply uncertain.

“With the sector now battling economic recession as well as a global pandemic, it has neither the time nor capacity to deal with the further shock of a ‘no deal’ Brexit. The impact of tariffs on the sector and the hundreds of thousands of livelihoods it supports would be devastating, so we need negotiators on both sides to pull out all of the stops to ensure a comprehensive free trade deal is agreed and in place before the end of 2020.”