Engine and commercial vehicle production in the UK declined in February 2021 reports The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). New customs processes, prolonged coronavirus lockdown measures and supply chain issues were some of the main challenges impacting production.
Engine manufacturing down 20.5%
UK engine manufacturing declined 20.5% in February with 170,271 units built, says SMMT. Production for domestic and overseas markets fell 13.1% and 25.9% respectively.
SMMT says engine output has fallen by a quarter so far in 2021, down 338,562 units.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said in the association's press release announcing the figures, “Now 1 year into the coronavirus pandemic, UK engine manufacturers have seen their output significantly affected. With subdued car markets at home and abroad, new customs processes with the EU, and global supply chain issues impacting the sector, this month’s figures are further evidence of the challenging circumstances. There is, thankfully, a roadmap out of the pandemic in this country but, with the majority of our engines exported, we need to see global markets on the road to recovery before UK manufacturers can look forward with confidence.”
Commercial vehicle manufacturing output declines
SMMT reports commercial vehicle manufacturing in the UK declined for the fifth month in a row; it was down 45.4% in February 2021 with a total of 4,308 units built during the month. The association says February was the worst one on record1.
Output is down 38.3% for the first 2 months of 2021, with 9,924 vans, trucks and buses leaving factories.
Domestic and overseas orders saw a double-digit drop while exports were halved (down 51.3%). Per SMMT's press release, parts shortages, such as semi-conductors, combined with lockdowns and friction surrounding new trading arrangements drove the decline, given the majority of all shipments were headed for Europe. Exports make up more than half (52.5%) of all commercial vehicle builds in the UK.
SMMT says performance year to date has decreased -38.3%, with a shortfall of 6,155 vehicles compared to this time last year, as only 9,924 vans, trucks and buses were built in the first months of 2021.
“A fifth consecutive month of decline for UK commercial vehicle production is grim news, but expected given the challenges the automotive sector is facing. As the country reflects on a full year grappling with the pandemic, commercial vehicles have continued to provide a lifeline for myriad essential services and sectors, and with the UK coming out of lockdown soon, they will play a key role getting the country back up to speed. We now need to ensure these critical vehicles continue to be made in Britain, which means implementing measures to assure our global manufacturing competitiveness with investment in skills, training and a supportive business environment," said Hawes.
1. February 2009 – 5,870 CVs made