The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reports commercial vehicle and engine production in the UK declined once again in November 2020.
UK commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing decreased -1.9% in November, with 8,605 units rolling off production lines, according to SMMT figures. While output for the domestic market rose 10.1%, with logistics and CV operators working flat out to meet growing demand for online deliveries, it failed to offset an -8.8% decline in exports, equivalent to a loss of 490 units, as stricter coronavirus restrictions closed off entire parts of key economies.
After production all but ground to a halt earlier in the year, output for the first 11 months is now down -16.1% to 59,539 units, with UK factories producing 11,419 fewer buses, coaches, vans, trucks and taxis than in the same month last year. Year-to-date, this loss comes at around an £825 million cost to the UK commercial vehicle sector.
SMMT says 94.1% of all commercial vehicle exports have been destined for EU markets so far this year.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “While growing consumer demand for online deliveries has driven a need for new vehicles in the UK, ecommerce alone is not enough to make up the industry’s exports shortfall, even in the run-up to the year’s busiest retail period. A resurgence in coronavirus cases and the increasing fear of a ‘no deal’ Brexit as negotiating time runs out are already taking their toll, and we now, urgently, need an agreement with the EU that guarantees ongoing zero-tariff trade in order to allow the sector to recover and get back to long term growth.”
Engine production falls 8.2%
A total of 189,883 engines were built in November in the UK, a decline of 8.2%. Production of domestic and overseas markets fell 7.8 and 8.4% respectively. SMMT says engine output has dropped every month in 2020 for a year-to-date output of -28.2%.
Hawes said, “The eleventh consecutive month of decline for UK engine production is extremely concerning, and while the coronavirus pandemic has been the overriding cause, a lack of clarity on trade with the EU and other markets has also played a role. We urgently need a deal agreed that guarantees tariff-free trade for all automotive goods from day one. Without it, recovery in 2021 will be nigh on impossible, with severe consequences for the sector, jobs and the wider economy.”