UK car production dropped to its lowest level since 1956, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Last year, the UK produced 775,014 cars, only slightly more than the 707,594 units produced in 1956, when the country was still recovering from World War 2.
In 2022, the SMMT says the global chip shortage was to blame for the poor production figures. However, the loss of production at Honda in Swindon, the impact of supply chain issues in China and Brexit trade friction have also played their part.
Year-on-year, UK car production declined by 9.8% in 2022, with 84,561 fewer units built than during the previous year, and was 40.5% off the 1,303,135 cars made in 2019, equivalent to a loss of more than half a million cars.
Electric and hybrid successes
UK factories turned out a record 234,066 electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid electric vehicles. Total EV production rose 4.8%, with hybrid volumes up 4.3%. The SMMT says that boosting output of these vehicles will be critical in the attainment of net zero, for both the UK and major overseas markets, and the correct direction for the future.
Mike Hawes, Chief Executive of the SMMT, said: ‘These figures reflect just how tough 2022 was for UK car manufacturing, though we still made more electric vehicles than ever before – high value, cutting edge models, in demand around the world.’
He continued: ‘The potential for this sector to deliver economic growth by building more of these zero emission models is self-evident, however, we must make the right decisions now. This means shaping a strategy to drive rapid upscaling of UK battery production and the shift to electric vehicles based on the UK automotive sector’s fundamental strengths .’
In 2022, EV, PHEV and HEV exports were worth more than £10 billion. As a result, electrified vehicles represent 44.7% of the value of all UK car exports.
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