UK production of commercial vehicles (CVs) declined -31.5% in January, with just 5,616 units leaving factory gates, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). The ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic, friction in trade with the EU following the Brexit deal and weak demand all affected output, resulting in a fourth consecutive month of decline and the worst start to the year since 2015.1
Manufacturing remained subdued for both domestic and overseas markets, down -28.8% and -33.6% respectively with demand for British-built CVs falling across most export destinations, including the largest driver of shipments – the EU. More than half (53.2%) of all CVs made were shipped abroad in the month, reinforcing the importance of global trade for UK CV makers.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, “After a sharp fall in CV production last year, it’s disappointing to see output fall again at the start of 2021. With so many jobs at stake and a real need to secure investment for this essential sector, next week’s Budget is an opportunity for the Chancellor to deliver a shot in the arm to the industry. We need the right conditions that will boost business confidence and address depleted order books across the industry, which means an extension of the CJRS furlough scheme, a review of business rates to incentivise manufacturing investment and improved fiscal measures to support uptake of the latest alternatively fuelled commercial vehicles.”