UK car production was dealt its biggest blow of the year in November as domestic demand plummeted by 28.1%.
This ensured a fall in output of 4.6%, or a drop of 7757 units, to 161,490 cars compared with the same month in 2016.
November was the fourth consecutive month of decline in UK demand. In contrast, global demand remained defiant and actually grew to 137,214 units in November. However, this 1.3% improvement on November 2016 wasn’t enough to offset the UK's overall decline in output in the period.
“Brexit uncertainty, coupled with confusion over diesel taxation and air quality plans, continues to impact domestic demand for new cars and, with it, production output,” explained Society of Motor Manufacturer and Traders CEO Mike Hawes.
“Whilst it is good to see exports grow in November, this only reinforces how overseas demand remains the driving force for UK car manufacturing. Clarity on the nature of our future overseas trading relationships, including details on transition arrangements with the EU, is vital for future growth and success.”
New legislation announced with the autumn budget will see drivers of new diesel vehicles hit with higher taxes. SMMT president Tony Walker recently said last month's 30.6% fall in demand for diesel vehicles is disrupting “the new car market” and therefore “hampering investment in the electric, emission-free vehicles of tomorrow”.
In October, domestic demand fell by 2.9%. Predictions for Britain’s 2017 car production output were then downgraded by 700,000 units to 1.73 million.
In January-November, British output totalled 1,577,0422 cars, a 2% fall on the same period in 2016. Again, this trend is driven by tumbling demand from the home market, which is 9% short on the same period last year, while exports remained consistent.
A total of 1,254,491 UK-built cars have been sent abroad, marking a 355-unit improvement on the first 11 months of 2016.