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According to the report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), UK car production rose significantly, but artificially, in April. Britain made 68,306 cars compared to just 197 a year ago when Covid restrictions effectively halted manufacturing. The performance was -3.8% below the April 2019 output. So far this year UK factories have turned out 374,864 cars, with April’s performance offsetting earlier declines to drive a 17.3% overall increase, but -15.0% down on the same four-month period in 2019.
When compared with a five-year average, production was down -42.9% for the month and -31.1% for the period January – April, reflecting the scale of the challenge facing the industry as it seeks to recover from the pandemic.
The April figures also reveal UK automotive manufacturing’s increasing shift towards electrified vehicles. In the month, 22.8% of all UK car manufacturing was for battery electric, plug-in hybrid and hybrid cars, while in the year-to-date alternatively fuelled model production is up 33.1% on the same period in 2019, demonstrating the UK industry’s commitment to meeting demand for these ultra-low and zero emission vehicles.
Compared with 2020, since January, production for the UK market has declined -3.1% while car exports have risen 22.5% with more than eight in every ten (83.3%) cars made shipped overseas. So far this year the European Union remains by far the most important destination for British cars, taking 52.1% of all exports, followed by the US (17.4%) and China (7.4%).