London – UK car manufacturing output fell 37.6% year-on-year last month, marking the lowest July since 1956, according to the latest figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Production fell to 53,438 units, registering the first fall in automotive manufacturing since February, said SMMT 26 Aug.
The trade body linked the decline to the global shortage of semiconductors and staff absence resulting from the ‘pingdemic’, with some altering summer shutdown timings to help manage the situation.
Pingdemic is a term used to refere to the notifications on Covid-19 sent by the health system NHS to your phone, advising you to self-isolate.
Year-to-date production was up 18.3% on Covid-hit 2020 at 552,361 units, but remains 28.7% lower than the 2019 pre-pandemic levels when 774,760 cars rolled off production lines.
“These figures lay bare the extremely tough conditions UK car manufacturers continue to face,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.
According to Hawes, the impact of the ‘pingdemic’ is expected to lessen as self-isolation rules change.
However, the worldwide shortage of semiconductors “shows little sign of abating,” he added.
The official urged the UK government to back the industry by continuing the supportive Covid measures currently in place and boosting competitiveness with a reduction in energy levies and business rates for the sector.