UK car production slumps to lowest level since 1954

UK car production slumps to lowest level since 1954
# 30 July 2020 11:29 (UTC +04:00)

The number of cars built in the UK over the past six months has slumped to the lowest since 1954, according to the industry's trade body, APA reports citing BBC.

A total of 381,357 cars were made the six months to June, down 42% on the period last year, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

The coronavirus lockdown led to widespread closures and job losses.

But the SMMT warned more jobs were at stake amid fears of a "double whammy" with the addition of Brexit tariffs.

The trade body estimated that 11,349 jobs were lost in the past six months at carmakers and companies which supply them with parts and services.

Britain's major carmakers all suspended production earlier in the year in response to the lockdown, including Jaguar Land Rover, Honda and Nissan.

Car production fell by 48% in June compared to the same month a year ago, with 56,594 units made, as social distancing measures and weak demand across global markets continued to restrict output.

In June, manufacturing for car sales in the UK market was down by 63%, while exports were 45% lower.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: "These figures are yet more grim reading for the industry and its workforce, and reveal the difficulties all automotive businesses face as they try to restart while tackling sectoral challenges like no other.

"Recovery is difficult for all companies, but automotive is unique in facing immense technological shifts, business uncertainty and a fundamental change to trading conditions while dealing with coronavirus."

UK car output was forecast to hit two million in 2020, but deteriorating market conditions compounded by coronavirus are likely to cut that number by more than half, Mr Hawes said.