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