British car manufacturing came to a screeching halt in April, down 99.7% against the same month last year.
Seán Kemple, Director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, offers his views on the shutdown, including recent data on what dealers want from the Government moving forward.
Seán Kemple, Director of Sales at Close Brothers Motor Finance, said, “April’s manufacturing slump reflects the economic shutdown triggered by Covid-19. These record lows are no surprise when the sector was put on ice for April, with both production and sales grinding to a halt.
“The good news is that April’s figures should be the worst; the ice is thawing and staff at some UK manufacturers returned to work in May. With safety at the forefront of everyone’s mind, production will be slow to restart – but restart it will.
“The car industry needs to be a focus as we move out of lockdown. More than half of dealers (53%) have called on the Government to offer more support to car manufacturers, and there’s certainly an opportunity to ‘build back better’.
“We may well see accelerated demand for alternative fuel vehicles, as well as for private cars in general if public transport becomes less appealing following the pandemic; in the short term, a scrappage scheme could jump-start the sector and replace older, more polluting models. And with the new 10% tax on EU-imported cars likely coming into play in 2021, UK plants will need to be equipped to meet even higher demand as we look to the long term.”