London – UK car production declined 41.4% year-on-year in October as factories turned out 64,729 units, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
It was the fourth straight month of decline and the weakest October since 1956 as firms grappled with the global shortage of semiconductors which led to production stoppages, said SMMT in a 26 Nov statement.
The weak output totals, compared to last year's figures, are exacerbated by Honda's permanent closure of its factory in Swindon in July, according to the association.
More positively, production of battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid (HEV) vehicles comprised 30.9% of all cars made in October.
BEV manufacturing rose 17.5% to 8,454 units, bringing the total of ‘zero emission vehicle’ production to 50,000 units, which SMMT said exceeds the pre-pandemic levels of 2019.
Production for domestic and overseas markets fell by double digits during the month, at 37.9% and 42.1% respectively.
While 60% of cars produced were destined for Europe, overall shipments to the EU fell by 29.2%. Exports to Japan and the US were down 57.1% and 67.0% respectively.
Over the first 10 months, production was down 2.9% year-on-year at 721,505 units, reflecting the impact of semiconductor shortages and structural changes within the industry.
“These figures are extremely worrying and show how badly the global semiconductor shortage is hitting UK car manufacturers and their suppliers,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive.
“With Covid resurgent across some of our largest markets and global supply chains stretched and even breaking, the immediate challenges in keeping the industry operational are immense,” he added.
The government, Hawes said, can help the industry with measures to boost competitiveness, notably in tackling high energy costs, supporting employment and training, and alleviating cashflow pressure on certain members.