THE TRADE body representing the UK car industry says new figures showing a double digit drop in demand for new cars should be of “considerable concern” and has once again called on the government to provide greater certainty to consumers on the future of diesel, as well as ensure free and frictionless trade with Europe post-Brexit.
Car production in March fell -13.3% versus the same period last year, to 147,471 vehicles, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Demand in the UK continued to slow significantly (down 17.7%) but exports also declined (by 11.9%), which the SMMT put down to “fluctuations in demand in some global markets”. The trade body also blamed adverse weather conditions last month, which negatively affected production operations.
Over the first quarter of this year, total production is down 6.3%, with 440,426 cars leaving production lines in total this year, with almost 80% of these being exported.
The SMMT calculates that Britain’s vehicle and component manufacturers are responsible for 13% of all the country’s export in goods, with every £1 generated by the industry delivering £3 to the economy via adjacent sectors such as logistics, retail and finance. It says the total economic impact is £219bn, or 10% of UK GDP.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said: “A double digit decline in car manufacturing for both home and overseas markets is of considerable concern. Following recent announcements on jobs cutbacks in the sector, it’s vitally important that the industry and consumers receive greater certainty, both about future policies towards diesel and other low emission technologies, and our post-Brexit trading relationships and customs arrangements. Maintaining free and frictionless trade is an absolute priority – it has been fundamental to our past success and is key to our future growth.”