Currently reading: UK car production down 16.5% in November
Latest figures show the ongoing effects of earlier factory closures; SMMT calls again for EU trade deal

UK car production fell 16.5% year-on-year in November, for which the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has blamed weakened overseas demand and widespread factory closures. 

A total of 107,753 cars were built in the UK last month, compared with 129,030 in November 2018. The SMMT attributes the deficit to “soft consumer and business confidence, weak demand in overseas markets and model production changes”. 

The decline rounds off a turbulent year for the UK’s automotive sector; new car output has fallen consistently since January, except in September, when marginal growth was recorded. The number of new cars built in 2019 so far is 14.5% less than at the same point in 2018. 

November’s figures show the lasting effects of a number of pre-emptive factory shutdowns that took place at the end of October, when the UK had been scheduled to leave the European Union (EU). That was in addition to a number of previous shutdowns that took place in April for the same reason. 

Domestic demand for new cars fell by 26.6% in November, with export rates falling 14.2%. The SMMT notes that more than 80% of new cars built in the UK are shipped abroad, including 54.7% bound for the EU. 

Commenting on the latest figures, SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes repeated his desire to see the Government reach a mutually beneficial trade deal with the EU.

He said: “UK car production is export-led, so we look forward to working with the new Government to deliver an ambitious trade deal with the EU. 

“To ensure our competitiveness at a time of dramatic technological change, that deal needs to be tariff-free and avoid barriers to trade – which, for automotive, means that our standards must be aligned. This can be achieved if Government and industry work in partnership to re-establish the UK as a great place to invest and ensure that automotive keeps delivering for Britain.”

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Felix Page

Felix Page
Title: News and features editor

Felix is Autocar's news editor, responsible for leading the brand's agenda-shaping coverage across all facets of the global automotive industry - both in print and online.

He has interviewed the most powerful and widely respected people in motoring, covered the reveals and launches of today's most important cars, and broken some of the biggest automotive stories of the last few years. 

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russ13b 20 December 2019


think it through instead of mindlessly ranting away. Notoriously, it is easy to close a uk factory and hard to close a "european" one, so even as a member of the eu we are at a disadvantage and would theoretically be closed first. Where are Fords built these days? Didn't the eu give ford 100 million to move the transit factory to turkey? so, yeah, brexit, that's exactly what the problem isn't. Complaints regarding what could possibly happen at some point in the future following our departure from the eu have all already happened while we've been a member of it. This isn't a brexit issue, as much as some people would like it to be.

gavsmit 20 December 2019

Elephant in the room

Global demand is falling because of ridiculously high car prices.

Every time a model is replaced, the price leaps by thousands - the Hyundai i10 being the latest example - the price of the base model has lept by 34% !!!!

I can't help but think that huge corporations and the media want to create conflict over things like BREXIT just to hide what is really going on.

Straff 20 December 2019


I'm sure that Jaguar, having row upon row of unsold production lying in a field because the Chinese are protesting poor quality and won't buy them, has absolutely nothing to do with them shutting down production for a few weeks this year.

Yeah, Brexit; that's to blame. That's the reason they did it...