UK commercial vehicle production fell 15.5% in 2020; the result of the coronavirus pandemic and the worst level since 1933.
Only 66,116 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches rolled off the lines last year; down 12,154 units, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The full-year figures come on the back of a 9.2% decline in December.
Output for overseas markets was down 17.8%, while production for the UK dropped 12.2%. More than half (57.3%) of all British-built CVs were exported last year.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “2020 challenged commercial vehicle manufacturers beyond belief and, as the final figures show, reflect what has been the worst year in a lifetime for the sector. The pandemic hit markets across Europe while prolonged uncertainty threatened business confidence at home, as a potential ‘no deal’ Brexit loomed over the industry for much of the year and was only put to rest on Christmas Eve.”
However, with the vaccine rollout now in full swing and businesses having been provided with necessary clarity post-Brexit, the SMMT said there is hope for the future.
“2021 must be focused on recovery and growth for commercial vehicle manufacturing. This starts with providing the right conditions to both attract investment and accelerate the take up of alternatively fuelled vehicles – a crucial next step on the way to a rapid and successful sector transition in the UK,” added Hawes.