Car production in the UK fell by 97.7 per cent in April as car production shut down in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Just 197 cars completed.
With the world and his dog on lockdown, and car factories across the UK lying idle, it’s not exactly a big surprise that UK car production all but disappeared in April. But it didn’t disappear completely, as 197 cars managed to find their way out of UK factories, a drop of 97.7 per cent on April 2019.
The tiny number built were luxury, premium and sports cars that had already been bolted together pre-lockdown and finished in April, with 45 of those heading for UK buyers and the rest overseas.
But it’s a little unfair to say that car factories were idled in April, because even if they weren’t churning out cars many were busy making PPE, with over 700,000 pieces, including face shields, visors and gowns – and even ventilators – produced to help the Covid fight.
Mike Hawes, SMMT CEO, said:
With the UK’s car plants mothballed in April, these figures aren’t surprising but they do highlight the tremendous challenge the industry faces, with revenues effectively slashed to zero last month. Manufacturers are starting to emerge from prolonged shutdown into a very uncertain world and ramping up production will be a gradual process, so we need government to work with us to accelerate this fundamentally strong sector’s recovery, stimulate investment and safeguard job.
The SMMT now reckon UK car production for 2020 will be down by around 400,000 compared to pre-Covid estimates, costing the industry £12.5 billion of lost output.
But, fingers crossed, things should start improving rapidly as lockdown eases and people get back to work, even if distancing and hygiene requirements – and the ramp up curve of production – will limit volume for a while.