2020 Will Be Worst Year For UK Car Production

Wed 23rd Dec 2020

A pandemic induced halt on production lines across Britain has contributed to car factories pushing out less than a million cars for only the second time since the 1980s.

Year-on-year output is down by 31 per cent, a shocking slump, which although mainly due to the COVID-19 lockdowns, won’t be helped by the Brexit uncertainty.

In fact the signs for a bad year were there from even before the coronavirus arrived, with output dropping 1.4% in November.

According to the data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, there were almost 400k fewer cars built this year, at a cost of £10.5bn to the industry, and this week’s blockades at freight terminals in Dover will not have filled anyone with confidence about the prospects for a no-deal Brexit.

"Yet another decline for UK car production is of course concerning, but not nearly as concerning as the New Year nightmare facing the automotive industry if we do not get a Brexit deal that works for the sector,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.

"With just nine days to go, the threat of ‘no deal’ is palpable and the sector, now also reeling from the latest coronavirus resurgence, Tier 4 showroom lockdowns and disruption at critical UK ports, needs more than ever the tariff free trading arrangements on which our competitiveness is founded."