Currently reading: UK new car output drops for fifth month running
SMMT calls for government to help the industry through supply chain crisis and looming trade obstacles

Latest figures from the SMMT reveal that November was the fifth straight month of decline for car production in the UK, with just 75,756 units leaving factory gates.

That figure represents a 28.7% year-on-year drop, and made last month the worst November since 1984. However, the SMMT does note that the closure of Honda's Swindon plant in July 2021 will continue to impact year-on-year comparisons until that time next year.

Production for the domestic market was down 18.8%, but exports were hardest hit, falling 30.4% year-on-year. In total, some 30,487 fewer cars were built in November, compared with the same period last year. 

So far this year, UK factories have turned out 797,261 new cars, down 432,794 on 2019's pre-December figures and 667,441 fewer than the pre-pandemic five-year average.

Exports accounted for more than 80% of all cars produced, which the SMMT says demonstrates "the need for smooth international trade, especially with the EU, as new customs controls with the bloc come into effect on 1 January 2022". 

The SMMT cites the ongoing semiconductor shortage as a primary factor in the downturn. Chief executive Mike Hawes called the figures "extremely worrying" and said the global supply chain crisis is "likely to affect the sector throughout next year".

He added: "With an increasingly negative economic backdrop, rising inflation and Covid resurgent home and abroad, the circumstances are the toughest in decades. With output massively down for the past five months and likely to continue, maintaining cashflow, especially in the supply chain, is of vital importance.

"We have to look to government to provide support measures in the same way it is recognising other Covid-impacted sectors.

“The industry is as well prepared as it can be for the implementation of full customs controls at UK borders from 1 January but any delays arising from ill-prepared freight or systems will place further stress on businesses that operate ‘just in time’. Should any problems arise, contingency measures must be implemented immediately to keep cross border trade flowing smoothly.”

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artill 23 December 2021

I am sure the SMMT know how many cars Honda made this time last year, and could probably manage a bit of basic maths to work out the real fall, but i suspect the number wouldnt be worthy of a headline any longer.

Right now with Covid, and a chip shortage i fail to see what the government could do. If the goverment offered every UK citizen a free new UK made car every 12 months i doubt even that would help.

hatob 23 December 2021

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HiPo 289 23 December 2021

Huge numbers of buyers are now waiting to buy EVs. They know that the writing is on the wall for internal combustion and that buying a new combustion car represents a bad financial decision and a decision that is likely to become socially unacceptable before the car is halfway through its life.  This is the market that we are now living in.   So with so few electric cars being built in the UK, it's no wonder that sales are dropping and will continue to drop.  Yes there are other reasons too, but this is the main underlying shift in the market and the SMMT needs to face it and start fully backing EV production.  Autocar could help by removing its rose-tinted glasses about anything with a 'pollution pipe'. 

artill 23 December 2021
HiPo 289 wrote:

Huge numbers of buyers are now waiting to buy EVs. They know that the writing is on the wall for internal combustion and that buying a new combustion car represents a bad financial decision and a decision that is likely to become socially unacceptable before the car is halfway through its life.  This is the market that we are now living in.   So with so few electric cars being built in the UK, it's no wonder that sales are dropping and will continue to drop.  Yes there are other reasons too, but this is the main underlying shift in the market and the SMMT needs to face it and start fully backing EV production.  Autocar could help by removing its rose-tinted glasses about anything with a 'pollution pipe'. 

The only people i know with electric cars are CoCar drivers who love how little tax an EV costs, and a VERY wealthy chap who loves to try new tech with an i3 he has had for years. None of the people i know who have bought new cars with their own money want an EV yet. But i am in Yorkshire, and we are a peculiar lot, preferring good value over virtue signalling. 

Stockholm Calling 23 December 2021

So because none of your friends are buying EVs the whole transition to them is a mirage, is that your logic?  BEVs now account for 19% of the market, a 110% increase. Must be an awful lot of virtue signallers out there, or maybe they are thrifty Yorkshiremen who no longer want to pay £1.50 for a litre of diesel?