British car manufacturing slumps to disastrous levels: worst January since 2009

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The alarming results from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) were sparked by plant shutdowns, Covid-19 regulations and trading conditions after Brexit. The global shortage of semiconductors also played a part, Autocar reported.

The UK made 68,790 cars in January 2022, a drop of 17,262 from the same period last year.

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “It’s another torrid start to the year as global supply issues and structural changes squeeze output while model changes impact production scheduling.

“The UK automotive manufacturing industry is, however, fundamentally strong and recent investment announcements are testament to the potential for growth, not least in terms of rising EV production.”

The SMMT said production for overseas markets dropped by 17.5 percent and domestic production fell by 30.8 percent.

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Car factory

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Car factory

Mr Hawes continued: “Long-term recovery can only be delivered if global competitiveness is assured and for that we must address both inflationary and fixed costs, most obviously escalating energy prices, but also fiscal and trading costs.

“Every measure must be taken if we are to secure a bright, electrified future for our world-class automotive manufacturing base and the high-skilled, high-value jobs it creates acrossBritain.”

Electric vehicles were the one saving grace when it came to production.

The UK produced 6,326 battery-electric models in January, up 37.6 percent and accounting for one in every 11 cars made.


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Taking plug-in models and hybrids into account, battery powered vehicles made up a quarter of the UK’s total output.

The SMMT also warned that expectations for 2022 should be adjusted.

It has revised production outlooks down by 2.4 percent to 979,000 total units, although that is still a 14.4 percent rise on 2021’s final figure.

Eight out of 10 cars made in the UK are exported to other countries.

More than half of those exports, 55 percent, go to countries in the European Union.

Honda Swindon

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Honda Swindon

The total number of cars manufactured in the UK over a five-year period have also dropped catastrophically.

In the whole of 2017 there were 1.75million cars produced in Britain.

However, in 2021, there were only 850,575 made, a reduction of almost 50 percent.

Only this week, BMW closed the plant that manufactures Mini cars in Oxford.

Car registrations by type

© Express
Car registrations by type

Honda closed down its Swindon factory in July of last year.

The lack of new cars being delivered to the UK has seen a huge rise in the value of used cars.

Most models jumped 30 percent year-on-year with some nearly new models costing more to buy than their new equivalents.

Some more practical used cars like MPVs have seen their values double since 2021.