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Home market demand for UK-built cars slumped 25.5% in May

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes

The production of cars in the UK declined by 15.5% during May as demand from domestic motorists for home-built vehicles slumped by 25.9% year-on-year, the SMMT has reported.

Monthly car production data published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) showed that 21,239 fewer units were manufactured in the month when compared to the same period in 2018.

While the number of cars built for export declined by 12.6% last month, eight-in-10 cars made are still shipped abroad, illustrating importance of free and frictionless trade, the SMMT said.

SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes described the 12th consecutive month of decline for UK car manufacturing as “a serious concern”, adding that the decline “underlines yet again the importance of securing a Brexit deal quickly”.

Hawes added: “The sector is facing multiple seismic challenges simultaneously: technological, environmental and economic. The ongoing political instability and uncertainty over our future overseas trade relationships, most notably with Europe, is not helping and, whilst the industry’s fundamentals remain strong, a brighter future is only possible if we secure a deal that can help us regain our reputation as an attractive location for automotive investment. No deal is not an option.”

The output of the UK’s car manufacturing sector is now 21% down year-to-date.

In the year to date a total of 557,295 new models have rolled off UK production lines – almost 150,000 fewer compared with the same point in 2018.

The SMMT said that this had been due, to a certain extent, to the decision by some manufacturers to bring forward summer shutdowns to April in anticipation of the expected March date for the UK to leave the EU.

Last month AM reported on how UK car manufacturing output declined by 44.5% in April as a result of factory shutdowns scheduled by manufacturers in anticipation of import difficulties resulting from a March 29 Brexit.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported at the time that 56,999 fewer units built in extraordinary month after Honda Swindon, Mini Oxford and Toyota Burnaston all temporarily shut their doors.

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