UK car manufacturing at half of pre-Covid levels

Car production returned to growth in October 2022, but the global chip shortage continues to cause problems

Car manufacturing in the UK is running at roughly half the level it was before the pandemic, new figures show.

Production returned to growth in October 2022, rising 7.4 per cent year-on-year to 69,524 units. This is 48.4 per cent lower than October 2019 and 52.8 per cent lower than the pre-Covid average for October.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which published the figures, said supply chain issues – particularly the global shortage of semiconductors – are continuing to cause problems.

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More than eight out of 10 UK-built cars in October were exported, with the majority heading to the EU. Demand increased from the US, Japan, Korea, Australia and Turkey.

UK production of electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid vehicles rose again, with combined volumes up 20.3 per cent to 24,115 units. So far in 2022, British car factories have produced a record 61,339 EVs, up 16.2 per cent on the same period in 2021.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, said: “A return to growth for UK car production in October is welcome – though output is still down significantly on pre-Covid levels amid turbulent component supply.

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“Getting the sector back on track in 2023 is a priority, given the jobs, exports and economic contribution the automotive industry sustains. UK car makers are doing all they can to ramp up production of the latest electrified vehicles, and help deliver net-zero, but more favourable conditions for investment are needed and needed urgently – especially in affordable and sustainable energy and availability of talent – as part of a supportive framework for automotive manufacturing.”

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