UK car production down 10.6% in July

Car production in the UK dropped by 10.6% year on year in July, new figures show.

Publishing the data, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders renewed its calls for a Brexit deal to be completed swiftly to aid the British auto sector.

It was the 14th successive month of decline, the SMMT said on Thursday, citing as causes the “ongoing weakness in major EU and Asian markets coupled with some key model changes”.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said the statistics showed an acute need for a Brexit deal to maintain the UK’s competitiveness and boost investment.

“Another month of decline for UK car manufacturing is a serious concern,” he said.

“The sector is overwhelmingly reliant on exports and the global headwinds are strong, with escalating trade tensions, softening demand and significant technological change.

“With the UK market also weak, the importance of maintaining the UK’s global competitiveness has never been more important so we need a Brexit deal – and quickly – to unlock investment and safeguard the long-term future of a sector which has recently been such an international success story.”

A total of 108,239 cars were manufactured in Britain in July, down from 121,051 in the same month last year.

Production for export dropped by 14.6% from last July, although overseas demand was the major driver of manufacturing, accounting for 80% of cars built, the SMMT said.

Output for the domestic market rose by 10.2%, contrasting with a sharp drop of 35.1% recorded in July last year.

The July data follows the release of earlier figures showing that car production fell 20.1% in the UK in the first half of the year, compared with the first half of 2018.

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