UK car manufacturing on the rise, but still down on pre-Covid levels
Production rose 34 per cent year-on-year in August 2022, but is still 45.9 per cent below where it was in August 2019
UK car manufacturing saw a significant year-on-year rise in August 2022, but figures are still low compared with where they were before Covid.
A total of 49,901 cars were built in the UK in August 2022 – up 34 per cent from the figure seen in August 2021, which was a particularly bad month due to extended factory shutdowns. This is still 45.9 per cent lower than the figure of 92,158 seen in August 2019, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
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Overall production for the year-to-date in 2022 remains 13.3-per-cent down on the first eight months of 2021 at 511,106 units, meaning 78,501 fewer cars have been built so far this year and half a million fewer than pre-Covid. As such, the UK is currently on course to produce fewer than a million cars for the third year in a row.
The growth seen in August 2022 was driven by rising demand from both the domestic and export markets. A third of all cars built in the UK during the month were either electric or hybrid, with pure EVs accounting for one in 10 cars.
The SMMT says the UK automotive industry is facing the highest energy bills in Europe, with its collective energy bill having risen to more than £300 million. While the organisation welcomed the Government’s energy bill relief for businesses, it called for “longer term solutions” to deal with even steeper increases expected next year.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “While another month of rising UK car production is good news – and testament to sectoral efforts to overcome supply chain shortages – it overshadows what is an extremely tough and uncertain environment for manufacturers. Volumes are down dramatically and firms are having to take drastic steps to safeguard their businesses in the face of myriad challenges.
“The Government’s measures announced last week to alleviate crippling energy costs provide valuable respite, but long-term action is needed to restore stability and provide the sector with a globally competitive investment framework. Reform of business rates, enhanced capital allowances, an affordable and secure supply of low carbon energy, and investment in new skills can enable this critical sector to deliver the economic growth, productivity improvements, balance of trade benefits and job security the UK sorely needs.”
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