London – UK car manufacturing fell by 44% in April 2019, as Brexit uncertainties gripped the UK economy.
UK car production falls 44% in April on Brexit doubt
Figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show that 70,971 cars were made in the UK in April. This compares to 127,000 in April 2018.
In addition, on a year-to-date basis, in the first four months of 2019 production was down 22.4%. It stood at at 441,000 units, compared to 568,000 units in the 2018 period.
'[This is] evidence of the vast cost and upheaval Brexit uncertainty as wrought on the UK automotive manufacturing business and workers,' said Mike Hawes, SMMT's CEO. 'Prolonged instability has done untold damage. The fear of a no-deal is holding back progress. This is causing investment t0 stall, jobs to be lost.'
The decline in April production was caused by companies moving their routine shutdowns forward, and extending them. The aim was to avoid the worst effects of anticipated supply chain problems at the time the UK was set to leave the EU.
UK car makers are making 'costly and ongoing contingency measures', according to the trade association. These include stockpiling, rationalisation, training for new customs procedures and rerouting logistics.
The SMMT said that if the UK leaves the EU with a favourable deal and substantial transition period, the decline could slow by the end of the year. However, the latest independent outlook suggest output will still be down by 10.5% on 2018 levels.
This scenario assumes no other international trade disputes affect the UK, SMMT said. It added that if the UK leaves the EU without an agreement, border delays, production stoppages and additional costs will all compromise UK manufacturing competitiveness.
'This is why a no deal must be taken off the table immediately and permanently so industry can get back to the business of delivering for the economy,' Hawes said.