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UK van production plunges 42% in March

British commercial vehicle output fell 41.8% in March as coronavirus lockdown measures caused plant closures nationwide.

Some 3,807 fewer vans, trucks, taxis and buses left factory gates in March than in the same month last year

The closures, which happened partway through the month, lead to 3,807 fewer vehicles leaving factory gates than in the same month last year – with domestic production down 43.4% and exports declining 40.6%.

Already, year-to-date commercial vehicle production is down 22.0% to 21,473 units for the first quarter, some 6,000 fewer than in Q1 2019.

With manufacturers yet to announce restart dates, a new SMMT survey has revealed nearly half (42.1%) of CV manufacturers think recovery from crisis will take at least 12 months, with a third (36.8%) expecting a loss in revenue of 30% or more by the end of 2020.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “While many businesses have stayed open to ensure continued production of parts so that essential vehicles can stay on the roads to support nationwide response, we need to get all production lines rolling and delivering for the economy again. This means implementing a package of measures that supports the entire automotive industry, from retail through supply chains to vehicle manufacture. This should be seen as long-term investment into the underlying competitiveness of a sector critical to the health of the UK economy and the livelihoods of thousands of households right across the UK.”

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.

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