Currently reading: UK new car production soars 46.6% as lockdown eases
Massive year-on-year improvement reflects near-total industry shutdown last March
2 mins read
29 April 2021

UK car production increased by 46.6% last month, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), with most factories operating at near-capacity a year since the first national lockdown brought nearly the entire industry to a halt.

In March 2021, a total of 115,498 cars were manufactured on UK shores, compared with 78,767 in March 2020, when factories were forcibly closed as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold.

However, despite the rise, production is lagging 22.9% – or 24,047 cars – behind the five-year March average.

SMMT boss Mike Hawes said: “The first rise for UK car production in 18 months is a major step in the right direction but belies the underlying situation.

“With factories shut for much of March 2020, output was always going to be up, but it remains below average, with some £11 billion worth of production lost over the past year.”

Beyond the pandemic, the rise in production was driven by a firm jump in exports, as 95,229 cars were shipped abroad last month – 54% more than in March 2020.

Within that, exports to the EU, US and Asia were up by 33.5%, 36.4% and 54.1% respectively.

Meanwhile, production for the domestic market also played a role, rising 19.4%.

Most encouragingly for the UK government’s environmental efforts, including its planned 2030 ban on the sale of all new ICE cars, demand for hybrid, plug-in hybrid and electric cars increased 13.7% year-on-year, with the result that 20% of cars now produced in the UK are alternatively fuelled.


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Adrian Barlow 30 April 2021
We can expect auto production in the UK to drop off a cliff from 2030 if sales of petrol/diesel cars are really banned in UK from that date, a case of government stabbing the auto industry in the back.
My question is, Why are some carmakers dropping production of petrol and diesel models altogether when there will still be a demand for them in overseas markets?
Someone, please explain it to me!
xxxx 29 April 2021

@scotty, lack of Ford focus's, it may be down to the plant being shut down in Germany, read yesterdays story about the factory being shut for 3 months. It is hard to believe how bad Ford are run these days, unless I read the story wrong that is. If it was JLR there would be 5 articles and 50 trolls.

Bimfan 29 April 2021

Well, there's a surprise. Coronavirus restrictions lifting, car sales and hence production rising. Who would have expected that?

Slightly strange though that this is in the face of supposed microprocessor shortages that you have been shouting about for the last few weeks. Or could it just be that JLR, who seem to have been the most badly affected in the UK, according to your reports, just don't have the orders to fulfil and are making excuses again?

Rather than these disparate strands of stories and industry promotion articles issued daily, why not try and give a proper dispassionate overview of where the UK industry is now and where it is headed coming out of (hopefully) the worst of the pandemic? Or is that too difficult for you to filter out from the b****hit that they (mis)produce for the motoring press? 

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