Coronavirus shutdowns could cut 2020 UK car production by 18%
27 March 2020
Author: Illya Verpraet
The SMMT has released its monthly figures on UK car production, which show that the industry remained stable in February.
UK car production shrank by 0.8% compared to last year, to 122,171 units. Exports fell slightly, while domestic sales went up by 7.8%. Although combined EU demand rallied (up +3.6%), exports to the US and Asia fell substantially.
WIth factories and most of public life shut down across Europe for March, figures are likely to be disastrous next month. An initial assessment commissioned by SMMT of the potential impact of these shutdowns suggests a loss of around 200,000 units by the end of 2020, just under 1.1 million - a fall of 18%. However, that is assuming that the shutdowns last weeks, rather than months.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, "Despite the myriad global challenges the UK automotive industry has faced in recent times, it remains fundamentally strong and February's figures reflect that. However, these figures also reflect the calm before the storm. With UK car plants now effectively on national shutdown and many global markets closed, the outlook is of deep concern.
"We wholeheartedly welcome government's extraordinary package of emergency support for businesses and workers, but this must get through to businesses now. If we're to keep this sector alive and in a position to help Britain get back on its feet, we urgently need funding to be released, additional measures to ease pressure on cashflow and clarity on how employment support measures will work."