The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says that model cycles, operational changes and preparations for a new range of next-generation vehicle technology ahead of new WLTP emissions standards, all played a part in June’s 47.2% fall in UK car production for the home market.
UK car production fell by -5.5% overall in June, with 128,799 cars rolling off production lines, according to figures released today by the SMMT. While exports grew 6.0% in the month, this couldn’t offset the 47.2% decline in production for the UK.
Production for export has continued to drive volumes throughout 2018, with overseas orders stable, down by a marginal 0.8% in the first six months. In the year to date, 675,187 cars have been built for global markets, helping to mitigate disappointing domestic demand, with overall output down by just -3.3% to 834,402 units.
In the six months to June, global demand for British-built cars grew in a number of key markets, notably the US – the UK’s second-largest exports destination after the EU – where exports rose by 1.5% thanks to a raft of new, desirable models. Demand also grew substantially in Japan (+77.3%) and South Korea (+67.8%), while China maintained its position as the UK’s third biggest customer, taking 6.4% of exports.
EU remains industry’s biggest trading partner
However, despite a -3.6% decline in demand, the EU remained the UK’s biggest trading partner, accounting for 360,270 units – more than half of all cars produced for export (53.4%). Individually, EU countries also made up half of UK Automotive’s top 10 export destinations, with Germany, Italy and France the UK’s second, third and fourth biggest markets after the US and ahead of China.
Although UK Automotive now exports more than eight out of every 10 cars it builds to more than 160 countries worldwide, it is also a major importer. More than 87% of the cars registered by British buyers in the first six months of the year came from overseas plants, and more than two thirds (69.1%) from the EU, highlighting the importance of tariff- and barrier-free trade.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: ‘First half figures are a reminder of the exports-led nature of UK Automotive, the integrated EU supply chain and our mutual dependency on free and frictionless trade. The UK Government’s latest Brexit proposals are a step in the right direction to safeguard future growth, jobs and consumer choice – not just in Britain but right across Europe.’
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.