UK car production nearly halves in August

There’s more grim reading from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders about the impact of the Covid-19 restrictions on the car industry.

It says production declined 44.6% in August, with just 51,039 units rolling off factory lines as efforts to ramp up production stalled amid the coronavirus crisis.

It adds there is weak demand in key overseas markets compounded by a significant fall in output for UK buyers.

So far this year UK car production is down -40.2%, representing a loss of 348,821 units. Manufacturing output for the domestic market is down -46.0% in the first eight months, with exports falling -38.8%, but still taking the lion’s share of output.

The impact of lockdown and ongoing policy aimed at battling Covid has meant car production losses worth more than £9.5 billion, which the SMMT says will be impossible to catch back.

At least 13,500 people have lost their jobs this year as a result.

The SMMT does add that the year-on-year figures are slightly skewed, though, by an unusually strong August in 2019, when some plants worked through the customary summer maintenance shutdown period, pausing in April instead to mitigate the then possible ‘no deal’ Brexit on 31 March.

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