July 20, 2024

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The Ultimate Driving Machines

UK car production up 7.4% in October but below pre-pandemic levels

UK car production up 7.4% in October but below pre-pandemic levels

UK car production returned to growth in October, rising 7.4% to 69,524 units, but it is still well adrift of pre pandemic performance.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, which released the figures, said the UK was still suffering from the global shortage of microchips.

October’s performance was -48.4% off 2019’s total of 134,669 units and -52.8% off the five-year pre-pandemic average for the month.

Exports of the latest volume, luxury and specialist models drove output, with more than eight in 10 (81.2%) cars made heading overseas, equivalent to 56,469 units, while 13,055 cars were turned out for the domestic market.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “A return to growth for UK car production in October is welcome – though output is still down significantly on pre-Covid levels amid turbulent component supply.

Getting the sector back on track in 2023 is a priority, given the jobs, exports and economic contribution the automotive industry sustains.

UK car makers are doing all they can to ramp up production of the latest electrified vehicles, and help deliver net-zero, but more favourable conditions for investment are needed and needed urgently – especially in affordable and sustainable energy and availability of talent – as part of a supportive framework for automotive manufacturing.”

Lisa Watson, director of sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, commented: “Though ongoing supply challenges remain, pressure appears to be easing on car production.

“The road to pre-pandemic recovery will still have some speed bumps ahead and a large backlog of orders are still outstanding, but positive signs are emerging as October produced the first year-on-year improvement in 2022. Manufacturers such as Volvo have been able to restore their production levels, and signs point towards an improved outlook for Q1 in 2023.

“But despite the fact that lead times are beginning to subside, they still remain long, and the used market continues to be starved of quality nearly-new stock, which means consumers are still often left with the choice of facing an extended wait for a new car or having to buy a slightly older used car. The emphasis remains on dealers to ensure they are using all available insights and tools to best meet current demand and maximise sales opportunities.”