British car-makers who turned off production lines anticipating chaos with suppliers and exports around the original Brexit date in March have seen a dramatic fall in output.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders said car production fell 44.5% year-on-year to 70,971 units in April, the lowest since the 2009 recession started.
Car factories shut down before March 29, the original date for Britain’s departure from the European Union, but they cannot do the same if it happens at the end of October.
The postponement came too late for carmakers to change plans, and global trade tensions made the situation worse.
“Today’s figures are evidence of the vast cost and upheaval Brexit uncertainty has already wrought on UK automotive manufacturing businesses and workers,” SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes said yesterday.
“Prolonged instability has done untold damage, with the fear of ‘no deal’ holding back progress, causing investment to stall, jobs to be lost and undermining our global reputation.”
Official data show business investment in Britain fell in every quarter of 2018 and grew only weakly early this year, leaving Britain’s economy reliant on consumer spending to drive growth.
The knock on effect was felt among engine builders with a 41% decline in output for UK cars and nearly 13% for export. CV makers reported a 71% decline with exports worst.