London – UK car manufacturing output declined 48.2% in June with 56,594 units produced, rounding off “weakest six months since 1954,” according to data released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Factories turned out 381,357 cars in the first half of 2020, down 42.8% on 2019, said SMMT in a 30 July statement.
Although post-shutdown production slowly ramped up in June, strict social distancing measures and weak demand across global markets continued to restrict output.
A total of 11,349 jobs were cut across manufacturing and retail during the pandemic, the association said, adding there was “more at stake” without dedicated restart support ahead of Brexit.
Citing new analysis, SMMT said car production losses could total 1.46 million units by 2025 if no free trade agreement is in place with the EU by the end of 2020, forcing the sector to trade on WTO terms with full tariffs applied.
June manufacturing for the domestic market was down by 63.8%, reflecting the gradual easing of the UK’s retail lockdown.
Production for export also fell, by a substantial 45.0%, although overseas orders accounted for nine out of 10 vehicles built.
This, SMMT said, was due to key global markets, including in the EU, China, US, South Korea and Japan, opening for business earlier than the UK.