News | Published May 30 2019

UK car production falls during Brexit shutdown

Factory shutdowns scheduled for a March Brexit saw UK car production over April decline by 44.5 per cent according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Despite Brexit being delayed from the initial date of March 29, 2019, factory closures still went ahead with 70,791 cars produced in April.

This is around 57,000 fewer than the number rolled out over April 2018.

Home market production was slashed by 43.7 per cent, with 44.7 per cent of overseas production being hit.

April 2019 was the 11th consecutive month of reduced UK output.

The SMMT initially estimated that production for the whole of 2019 would be down by ten per cent. In the year to date, the number of cars built is down by over a fifth compared to 2018.

The SMMT said the closures took place as one of a number of precautions which included logistical adjustments, stockpiling and preparation for changes to customs procedure.

The body also said that such a stoppage could not be repeated to coincide with the new projected EU withdrawal date of October 31.

“The figures are evidence of the vast cost and upheaval Brexit uncertainty has already wrought on UK automotive manufacturing businesses and workers,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive.

The stoppages have weighed down on the global car industry amid the VW emissions controversy and a lingering a trade standoff between the US and China.

According to Hawes, the effect of a no-deal Brexit would only exacerbate the decline.

“The prospect of no deal must be taken off the table immediately and permanently, so industry can get back to the business of delivering for the economy and keeping the UK at the forefront of the global technology race,” he said. 

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Authored by

Scott Challinor
Business Editor
May 30 2019

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