UK car production fell for a 12th consecutive month in May, with industry bosses blaming a 15.5% year-on-year decline on the continued impact of earlier UK factory shutdowns, along with falling global and domestic demand.
A total of 116,035 cars were produced in the UK last month, 21,239 fewer than the same month in 2018, according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Production of domestic models fell by 25.9%, while 12.6% less cars were built to be shipped overseas.
Manufacturing for export still accounted for 80.9% of all cars made, which the SMMT says reinforces its claim that maintaining a frictionless border crossing post-Brexit is crucial to the preservation of the UK’s manufacturing industry.
This week, the SMMT has called for the next prime minister to ensure the UK does not leave the EU without a deal. It claims that delays caused by increased security checks at border crossings could incur financial penalties of up to £50,000 per minute for the automotive industry.
Overall, 116,035 new cars were built in the UK in May, a 15.5% decline compared to the same period in 2018, when 137,274 units were sent to dealerships. Year-to-date, the UK has produced 557,295 cars, 21% less than the 705,774 that had been produced by this point last year.
The main reason for the shortfall, claims the SMMT, is the decision by companies including Jaguar Land Rover, Honda, BMW, Mini and Rolls-Royce to close their factories temporarily in April amid widespread confusion over Britain’s date of departure from the EU.