UK car manufacturing plummeted by almost a fifth in April, as the timing of Easter ate into the number of production days in the month.
Figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) on Thursday showed that 122,116 cars were made last month, an 18.2 per cent decrease on April 2016. Production for the first four months of the year remained at a 17-year high, however, particularly boosted by demand from overseas buyers.
Demand from abroad is up 3.5 per cent so far this year, according to the SMMT, offsetting a 7 per cent fall in domestic demand. A total of 76.8 per cent of all the cars made in the UK this year have been shipped abroad, with the majority going into the EU.
Largely because of the car industry’s dependence on the European single market, the SMMT has been one of the most outspoken trade bodies on Brexit, warning repeatedly that leaving the EU without a trade deal in place has the potential to damage the auto industry beyond repair.
On Thursday, the SMMT published a list of priorities for the next five years, urging the government to implement trade deals with the EU which safeguard the interests of the sector in the UK after the split.
It called for a “globally competitive business environment to support investment, growth and job creation” and “an ambitious industrial strategy delivering for automotive as a strategic sector”.
It also emphasised the importance of “a holistic strategy to support sustainable mobility” and the uptake of so-called ultra-low emissions vehicles, and policies that would ensure the UK “secures the benefits of digitalisation”.
“Overall, British car manufacturing remains in good health with the production outlook still very positive and significant new models due to go into UK production shortly,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.
“To guarantee future growth and investment into our industry and its vital supply chain, however, we need the next government to safeguard the conditions that have made us globally competitive, keeping us open and trading and delivering an ambitious industrial strategy for our sector,” he added.
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies