June 19, 2024

SMMT reports a 7% drop in UK car manufacturing output for April

UK’s car manufacturing output experienced a 7% decline in April 2024 compared to the previous year, resulting in 61,820 vehicles being produced.

Recent data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) indicates a second consecutive month of production decrease, primarily due to factory retooling for next-generation and electrified models.

The production of electrified vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid models, saw a slight increase, accounting for 40.5% of total production with 25,031 units.

Despite a mere 0.1% rise from the previous year, this growth was impacted by the ongoing shift towards new technologies.

Although there was a 19.8% surge in production for the domestic market, a 12.7% decline in overseas demand led to a total of 47,799 units being exported.

The European Union emerged as the largest export market, with a 55.8% share, followed by the US (15.2%), China (5.4%), Turkey (4.2%), and Australia (2.8%).

Noteworthy changes include an increase in exports to the US and Turkey, while exports to the EU, China, and Australia saw a sharp decline.

As the general election approaches, SMMT has put forward a manifesto advocating for five key initiatives to enhance the competitiveness of the automotive sector.

These initiatives revolve around zero-carbon energy, workforce skills, free trade agreements, and support for the domestic electric vehicle market.

Year-to-date figures indicate a 0.8% decrease in car manufacturing output compared to 2023, with a total of 284,191 units produced.

While exports experienced an 8.7% decline, domestic production saw a notable increase of 31%.

Forecasts suggest a 6.2% decrease in UK car and light van production this year, with expectations of growth resuming in 2025, surpassing one million units from 2026 onwards and reaching 1.2 million later in the decade.

Mike Hawes, the chief executive of SMMT, emphasized the importance of favorable industrial and market conditions to sustain progress in the sector, particularly towards a net zero future.

In March, the sector witnessed a 27.1% year-on-year reduction, with 59,467 vehicles manufactured.

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