UK car production almost halves in April following Brexit factory shutdowns

Production of cars in the UK dropped by almost half in April, following the planned shutdown of a number of factories in preparation for Brexit.

According to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), there was a 44.5 per cent drop in the number of cars manufactured in April year-on-year — with 70,971 produced, compared with 127,970 for the same month in 2018.

A number of carmakers had planned factory shutdowns to coincide with the original Brexit date of March 29 with uncertainties surrounding the impact of the UK’s exit from the European Union on the industry, leading to a substantial drop in new car production.

This has also had an impact on the number of cars built in the year-to-date — down 18.5 per cent to 348,657 compared with 454,814 in the same period last year. Though Brexit uncertainties remain, the SMMT believes the decline in production should ease off later in 2019 if the UK leaves with ‘a favourable deal’ as the traditional summer shutdown months see an expected increase in production numbers year-on-year.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Today’s figures are evidence of the vast cost and upheaval Brexit uncertainty has already wrought on UK automotive manufacturing businesses and workers. Prolonged instability has done untold damage, with the fear of ‘no deal’ holding back progress, causing investment to stall, jobs to be lost and undermining our global reputation.

“This is why ‘no deal’ must be taken off the table immediately and permanently, so industry can get back to the business of delivering for the economy and keeping the UK at the forefront of the global technology race.”

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