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Gloucestershire Business News

Car manufacturing lowest since 1956

Car manufacturing in the UK has hit the lowest level since 1956, research shows.

Output fell by 37.6% in July with 53,438 vehicles made, the first fall since February, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Production volumes have been damaged by a worldwide shortage of microchips, and the ongoing 'pingdemic' which has led to many staff self-isolating and summer shutdown timings altered to manage the situation.

In all 26.0% of cars made in July were alternatively fuelled, the highest share on record.

In July production for the UK market declined 38.7% to 8,233 while manufacturing for export also fell, down 37.4% with 45,205 cars shipped overseas.

Exports accounted for more than eight out of 10 (84.6%) vehicles built in the month as buyers around the world continued to be attracted to the wide range of cars made in the UK, including the latest alternatively fuelled models.

More than a quarter (26.0%) of all cars made in July were either battery electric (BEV), plug in hybrid (PHEV) or hybrid electric (HEV), the highest share on record, and meaning that UK car factories have turned out 126,757 of these products since the start of the year.

Production overall remains up 18.3% on Covid hit 2020 at 552,361 units, but this is down significantly (-28.7%) on 2019 pre-Covid levels when 774,760 cars rolled off production lines.

Mike Hawes, chief executive at SMMT, said: "These figures lay bare the extremely tough conditions UK car manufacturers continue to face.

"While the impact of the 'pingdemic' will lessen as self-isolation rules change, the worldwide shortage of semiconductors shows little sign of abating.

"The UK automotive industry is doing what it can to keep production lines going, testament to the adaptability of its workforce and manufacturing processes, but Government can help by continuing the supportive Covid measures currently in place and boosting our competitiveness with a reduction in energy levies and business rates for a sector that is strategically important in delivering net zero."

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