UK commercial vehicle production declined by -70.9% last month, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Only 2,162 vans, trucks, buses and coaches left production lines as planned shutdowns to prepare for model changeovers resulted in the substantial drop in output, though the SMMT pointed towards uncertainty around Brexit being the cause for the slowdown in car manufacturing.
Production for both home and overseas markets experienced significant declines in the month, falling -27.1% and -89.9% respectively. The proportion of exported CVs fell to 24.3%, the lowest level on record.
The year-to-date silver lining is that volumes remain ahead, up 10.3% compared with 2018, which the SMMT attribute to a rise in demand from the domestic market. However, exports – predominantly to Europe – continue to be the main output driver, making up nearly 60% of production in the first four months.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “While April’s decline is significant, production shutdowns make it an exceptional month, and the cyclical nature of the sector means caution is always advised when making monthly comparisons. With overall production still driven by exports – the majority to the EU – for this vital sector to thrive, we need to restore confidence and stability, and this means securing a free and frictionless trade deal with our biggest customer.”