Production of battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid vehicles (HEV) continued to rise during February in the UK, while combustion engine car vehicle production continued to decline. According to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), UK car production fell minus 14 percent in February.
During the month 105,008 units left factory gates, with 17,163 fewer cars being made. This represents an 18th consecutive month of decline and the weakest February performance in more than a decade for combustion engine cars.
Production for the UK domestic market fell 34.9 percent, a loss of 9,480 units, compared with a less severe minus 8.1 percent fall in exports, down 7,683 units. Overseas orders still accounted for by far the majority (83.2 percent) of all cars made in the month, with most of these (53.9 percent) heading into the EU.
This demonstrates once again the importance of harmonious trading relationships with the sector’s largest and closest market. February shipments to the US and Asia combined amounted to 30.9 percent of all UK car exports.
The recent strong growth in UK output of plug-in cars continued in February, with a total production of these vehicles surging 25.3 percent to 23,019 units. To ensure this trend continues, however, both manufacturing and market competitiveness must be maintained, making the recent decision by the government to cut UK electric car incentives appears counter-intuitive.
The motor vehicle sector is now gearing up for the reopening of UK retailers on 12 April, but it is also mindful of the new lockdown measures coming into force in many parts of Europe.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “A year into the pandemic, these figures are yet more evidence of how badly coronavirus has hit UK car production. Thankfully, there are some rays of light with UK showrooms due to reopen on 12 April, vaccinations progressing and a roadmap to kickstart the economy.
“The automotive sector can play a crucial role in getting the UK back on its feet, supporting jobs across the country, driving growth and helping the country transition to zero-emission mobility. However, the UK is not isolated from global issues and our automotive industry still needs a stable and secure international market in order to prosper.”