Car production in the UK in February (2020) remained stable – down just 0.8% on 2019 – although the figures for March will be very different.
It’s perhaps an indication of just how quickly the Covid-19 crisis has engulfed every aspect of our lives that UK car production in February 2020 was almost completely steady, down just 0.8 per cent on 2019.
Yes, only four weeks ago car production in the UK was running completely normally, and now it’s not. In fact, there is no car production going on in the UK at the moment. Full stop.
But February was half decent with numbers down just 0.8 per cent on a year ago to 122,171 (1,033 fewer cars than last year) with the slight drop down to lower exports.
In fact, production for domestic consumption rose by 7.8 per cent (from 25,203 to 27,172), but slowing demand in some export markets (mainly the US and Asia) saw cars built for export drop 3.1 per cent from 98,001 to 94,999, although exports to the EU actually rose by 3.6 per cent.
Mike Hawes, SMMT CEO, said:
Despite the myriad global challenges the UK automotive industry has faced in recent times, it remains fundamentally strong and February’s figures reflect that. However, these figures also reflect the calm before the storm. With UK car plants now effectively on national shutdown and many global markets closed, the outlook is of deep concern.
Which is probably stating the bleedin’ obvious; the SMMT’s own assessment of the impact of Covid-19 on car production in 2020 predicts a fall of around 200,000 units – and that’s based on shutdowns of weeks, not months.