UK car production declined in 2017, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.
Some 1,671,166 vehicles rolled off production lines last year, a -3.0% decrease on 2016 and the first decline for eight years – but still the second highest output in 17 years.
|A -9.8% fall in output for the domestic market drove the overall decline, as the market responded to declining business and economic confidence and confusion over government’s policy on diesel. Exports also fell, though at a much lower rate, by -1.1%.
Overseas demand continued to dominate production, accounting for 79.9% of all UK car output – the highest proportion for five years.
The EU remained the UK’s biggest trading partner, taking more than half (53.9%) of exports, while the appetite for British-built cars rose in several key markets, notably Japan (+25.4%), China (+19.7%), Canada (+19.5%) and the US, where demand increased 7.0%.
|The UK’s growing reputation as a centre for excellence in powertrain design and manufacturing, meanwhile, helped drive engine production to record levels. Demand for UK-built engines grew at home and overseas, with overall output up 6.9% to more than 2.7 million – with 54.7% destined for car and van plants around the world, the majority in the EU. The growth is the result of significant investment in plants now producing high tech, low emission petrol and diesel engines. Last year, more than 1 million diesel and 1.7 million petrol units were built in Britain, delivering £8.5 billion to the economy.3 These latest figures highlight the importance of diesel and petrol engine manufacturing in the UK – with some 8,000 people employed in engine production and 3,350 directly employed in diesel engine production.|
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “The UK automotive industry continues to produce cars that are in strong demand across the world and it’s encouraging to see growth in many markets. However, we urgently need clarity on the transitional arrangements for Brexit, arrangements which must retain all the current benefits else around 10% of our exports could be threatened overnight.
“We compete in a global race to produce the best cars and must continue to attract investment to remain competitive. Whilst such investment is often cyclical, the evidence is that it is now stalling so we need rapid progress on trade discussions to safeguard jobs and stimulate future growth.”
Hawes spoke as SMMT also released new figures showing that UK automotive investment fell by 33.7% in 2017. Some £1.1 billion of investment earmarked for vehicle and supply chain manufacturing was publicly announced last year, down from £1.66 billion in 2016.
British commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing declined -16.7% in 2017 as 78,219 vans, trucks, buses and coaches left production lines, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Domestic demand fell to its lowest since 2009, down -25.0%, with 29,320 CVs rolling off production lines and onto British roads. The decline reflects a fall in business confidence and fluctuating buying cycles, which are a natural feature of the market. Meanwhile, 48,899 CVs were produced for overseas markets, representing a fall of -10.8%. However, exports accounted for 62.5% of overall UK production – up from 58.4% in 2016 – the largest proportion in eight years.
The EU remains the UK’s largest market, with 94.1% of CVs produced for international markets, and the majority bound for European Union countries.