UK car manufacturing output fell -95.4% in May with just 5,314 vehicles rolling off production lines, according to figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The performance was a slight improvement on April, when only 197 units were built but with factories still closed or running at reduced capacity it still marked the worst May since 1946.
While some two thirds of the UK’s automotive plants started getting back to business during the month, capacity was severely held back by social distancing requirements and reduced demand, with key global markets only just beginning to reopen and the UK remaining in lockdown.
4,260 cars were exported in May, most into the EU, the US and China, and withEnglish car showrooms not reopening until 1 June, only 1,054 models were built for domestic buyers.
In the first five months, UK factories turned out 324,763 cars, representing a decline of -41.7% on the same period in 2019 and a loss of more than 230,000 units, with the full year outlook now expected to be fewer than one million units.
The news comes as SMMT’s latest member survey reveals the challenges companies face as they emerge from the pandemic. While government support schemes have provided a lifeline for many businesses, in particular the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, liquidity is still a major issue for automotive businesses as they seek to ramp up operations, with 70% experiencing challenges in this area.