Fewest cars produced in January since 2009
Last month saw the weakest January for car production since the financial crisis as a combination of the pandemic and global supply issues knocked the industry.
Just 86,052 cars were built last month, down 27.3 per cent year on year, and the lowest number since 2009.
It also marked the 17th straight month of declining production in the UK, according to the Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
However, over a quarter – 21,792 – of all vehicles that rolled off factory production lines were battery and hybrid electric models.
Alongside the inevitable disruption caused by the pandemic, a global shortage of semiconductor chips hammered car production last month.
Around the world, major car makers one by one said that production would have to be reduced or even stop as a result.
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This disruption was compounded by teething problems caused by the new customs arrangements for the UK and Europe after Brexit.
SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes said that the industry needed to see extra support at next week’s budget to get production climbing again.
“Yet another month of decline for UK car production is a grave concern and next week’s Budget is the Chancellor’s opportunity to boost the industry by introducing measures that will support competitiveness, jobs and livelihoods”, he said.
“Whilst there have been some very welcome recent announcements, we need to secure our medium to long-term future by creating the conditions that will attract battery gigafactory investment and transform the supply chain.
“Most immediately, however, we must get our Covid-secure car showrooms back open, ideally before 12 April. This will be the fastest way to UK automotive manufacturing recovery.”