A turbulent year for CV production saw output fall 7.8% in 2019; the result of model changeovers, variable fleet buying patterns and regulatory issues.
The figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show 78,270 units rolled off production lines last year, with domestic market down by 7.0%, equating to 2,408 fewer UK-built CVs joining British roads. Meanwhile, exports also dropped, down-8.4% to 46,110 units. However, almost six out of every 10 vans, trucks, taxis and buses built in the UK in 2019 were exported, with 94.6% of those going to the EU, highlighting the vital need for a free trading relationship with the bloc.
While Europe was by far the sector’s biggest overseas customer, British-built CVs were shipped to at least 57 different countries globally, including 619 units to Israel, 299 to Australia and 168 to Hong Kong.
There was some bright news when it came to December, which saw the year finish on a positive note, as new model production ramped up. CV output rose 8.7%, with manufacturing for export rising by almost a third (30.5%). Meanwhile, continuing the trend seen in recent months, production for the home market declined 18.6%.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said CV output should bounce back this year but added: “This is reliant on political and economic stability that supports domestic demand. Given exports still account for the majority of UK output, with nine in ten vehicles shipped overseas destined for the EU, we need a trading relationship with Europe that protects this vital pillar of UK manufacturing, and this means a tariff-free trade agreement that puts automotive at its centre.”