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Car production in July hits lowest level since 1956

Stock image of UK car production

Stock image of UK car production

UK car production fell sharply last month, marking the worst July performance for the industry since 1956, a trade group has said.

The global microchip shortage, staff being affected by the so-called pingdemic, and shutdowns meant just 53,438 cars were built in the month.

That was a drop of 37.6% compared to July last year, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

It comes as sales of second-hand vehicles are soaring.

Overall car production in the year to date is almost a fifth higher than during 2020 at 552,361 vehicles, but that is still 28.7% down on 2019 pre-pandemic levels.

UK car production graphic

UK car production graphic

SMMT boss Mike Hawes said the July figures “lay bare the extremely tough conditions UK car manufacturers continue to face”.

“While the impact of the ‘pingdemic’ will lessen as self-isolation rules change, the worldwide shortage of semiconductors

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UK car production in July at lowest level since 1956 amid ‘pingdemic’ and chip shortage

Potential customer walks around Charles Hurst Usedirect used car dealership on Boucher Road in Belfast as restrictions in Northern Ireland ease allowing new and used cars sales.

In July production for the UK market declined -38.7% to 8,233 while manufacturing for export also fell, down -37.4% with 45,205 cars shipped overseas. Photo: PA

UK car manufacturing declined to the lowest level since 1956 in July, down 37.6% due to global chip shortages and the ‘pingdemic’ slowing down production.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said some manufacturers had changed their summer shutdown timings to manage the rout. 

In July production for the UK market declined -38.7% to 8,233 while manufacturing for export also fell — down -37.4% with 45,205 cars shipped overseas. 

“These figures lay bare the extremely tough conditions UK car manufacturers continue to face,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT CEO.

Chart: SMMT

Chart: SMMT

Exports accounted for more than eight out of 10 (84.6%) vehicles built in the month as buyers around the world continued to be attracted to the wide range of high-quality cars made

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Auto loan approval ratings hit highest level since 2015

It hasn’t been this easy to get a car loan in years.

Why it matters: It comes amid a demand bonanza that got underway at the onset of the pandemic — when traveling by car became the more appealing mode of transportation.

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Car loan approval ratings are at the highest since 2015, according to Cox Automotive.

  • What’s happening: Auto loans are getting cheaper and lengthier, two factors that lower monthly payments — what “most consumers are focusing on, more than anything else,” says Cox Automotive economist Jonathan Smoke.

  • “Consumers have been consistently seeing better rates every month this year than a year ago — that’s really helped offset some of the inflation in vehicle prices,” Smoke says.

The big picture: The net percentage of banks making loans harder to get is at the

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New car sales sink to lowest level since 1959

UK car dealership

UK car dealership

Sales of new cars plunged to levels not seen since 1959 in February as coronavirus lockdowns continued to ravage Britain’s automotive industry.

Just 51,312 new cars were registered last month according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) – a 35.5pc decline that equated to 28,282 fewer cars than in February last year.

February is traditionally a quiet month for the car industry as it comes ahead of the new registration plate in March.

Motorists keen to have the latest car on their drives mean March is normally the busiest time for dealers, accounting for a fifth of all new vehicle sales each year.

However, with January lockdowns forcing showrooms to shut and dealers going online to make sales, demand has collapsed.

According to the SMMT, closures and weaker consumer confidence related to the pandemic have cost the industry £23bn in lost

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