UK car production on the rise again

A door installing station at a car factory

Car production in the UK is on the up

UK car production has increased for six consecutive months thanks, in part, to the gradual transition to electrified vehicles. 

How many cars are being built? 

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) reported that almost 80,000 cars were built in February 2024, a 14% increase from February 2023 and the best February figure since 2021.  

Output for the UK market grew by 58%, and three out of four cars made in February were shipped overseas. 

So far this year, UK car production is up 17.8% at 162,904 units, the best start to a year since 2021. 

Why was production down? 

The pandemic can be blamed for many of the issues faced by car manufacturers. 

One such issue is the global semiconductor (microchip) shortage. The parts feature heavily in modern cars and the market is still recovering after their manufacturers had to shut down during the pandemic. This issue is expected to continue to have an effect at least partway through 2024.  

Increased shipping and energy costs also hampered car production. 

Where do the cars go? 

75% of cars made in February 2024 were shipped abroad – here’s where they went: 

  • 59.9% – European Union 
  • 14.8% – United States 
  • 7.1% – China 
  • 3.3% – Australia 
  • 2.3% – Turkey 

Are electric vehicles really that popular? 

It seems so. Electrified vehicles (battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid) made up over a third of all output in February 2024. With the government increasingly focusing on Clean Air Zones across the country, electric vehicles are rapidly gaining in popularity in the UK. 

SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said: “The industry is transitioning from internal combustion engine cars to electrified vehicles, building on the massive investment commitments made last year”. 

The SMMT has also said that with major car manufacturers recently announcing an end to the production of some of their long-running models in a decision to focus more on electric variants, production volumes may fluctuate in the next few months. 

If you want to know more, check out our blog on the new car market. 

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