UK Motor Industry Slows For Third Consecutive Month

Thu 27th Sep 2018

A perfect storm of factors has led to the UK’s motor manufacturing levels declining for the third month in a row, whilst the threat of a hard Brexit continues to linger.

The industry saw a 12.9% decline in August, compared to the same month in 2017, the total figure of cars produced being 89,254 compared to 102,438 last year. Whilst it is the third month in a row of a decline, the most worrying figure is the overall annual output, which has dropped by 5.2% meaning that 57,000 fewer cars have been produced than last year. The decline for car registrations is at 4.2%.

Whilst a drop in demand for UK-produced cars has contributed significantly to the decline, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, Chief Executive, Mike Hawes, points to a number of factors.

“The quieter summer months are often subject to fluctuations due to the variable timing and duration of annual maintenance and re-tooling shutdowns. This instability was exacerbated in August, with the industry racing to recertify entire model ranges to meet tougher [emissions] testing standards in force on 1 September.

“With exports, the majority to the EU, continuing to drive demand, it underscores the importance of a Brexit agreement to safeguard this trade; for our sector, ‘no deal’ is not an option.”

Both Mini and Jaguar Land Rover have promised a Brexit related shutdown of their factories, and with the industry already experiencing its lowest year-to-date output since the vote to leave the EU took place, there is likely to be more stormy waters ahead for the motor trade.