Car-makers are blaming micro-chip shortages, increased shipping costs and the aptly-named ‘pingdemic’ for scuppering UK car production.
Car manufacturing took a fall of 37.6% in July compared to the same month last year, making it the worst performing July since 1956.
However, figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) also show a continued rise in the production of electric and hybrid vehicles, with more than a quarter (26%) of cars made in July being alternatively fueled.
According to the data, just under 53,500 cars were built in the UK in July, with domestic production down by 38% to 8,233, while manufacturing export fell by 37.4% to 45,205.
Year-on-year production remains up by 18.3% at 552,361, one year on from the height of the pandemic. However, numbers are still 28.7% behind 2019’s pre-Covid-19 levels, when 774,760 cars rolled out of UK factories.
A global shortage of micro-chips affecting the industry worldwide, along with increased shipping costs resulting from Brexit are thought to be contributing to the weak figures.
Summer shutdowns of factories have also affected production, as the pingdemic continues to impact staffing levels across the board.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, commented: “These 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 shows little sign of abating.”
The continued rise in electric (BEV), plug in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid electric (HEV) production saw the EV market land its highest share on record last month, with UK car factories turning out 126,757 greener alternatives since the start of the year.
This marks a positive step ahead of the government’s ban on new petrol and diesel car sales in 2030.
“The UK automotive industry is doing what it can to keep production lines going, testament to the adaptability of its workforce and manufacturing processes,” Mr Hawes added.
“Government can help by continuing the supportive Covid measures currently in place and boosting our competitiveness with a reduction in energy levies and business rates for a sector that’s strategically important in delivering net zero [emissions].”
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