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UK car production hurt by supply issues

A 6% decline in UK car production in September was due to “severe” issues in the supply chain, said the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

Of the 63,125 models rolling off factory lines, the number of cars built for the UK market, 14,169 units, was also down, by 0.9%.

Car exports were down by 7.4% to 48,956 units, driven by reductions in shipments to the EU, US and China, although the number shipped to South Korea, Australia and Turkey increased.

It ended four months of growth in UK car production, SMMT says that output was again restricted by “severe supply chain issues affecting manufacturers”.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Despite the current challenges, our car makers remain resilient and are well placed to ramp up output of the latest, zero emission vehicles which will help drive an economic recovery, create jobs and boost growth.

“Success is not guaranteed, however, and to realise its potential the UK sector must attract new investment – which means creating competitive investment conditions.”

Hawes said stability, combined with a plan that tackles critical skills shortages, delivers regulatory certainty and brings down the cost of energy in the long-term can help put the UK at the forefront of next generation automotive manufacturing.

Year-to-date, UK car factories have turned out a record 52,888 BEVs, up almost a fifth (19.3%) on the first nine months last year and evidence of the UK’s capability in making cutting-edge, zero emission vehicles that are in strong demand around the world, with 78.4% shipped to markets overseas.

The figures come as fresh SMMT analysis confirms the increasingly important role of electrified vehicle production to the UK economy, especially the value of exports.2

Over the past five years, the value of BEV, PHEV and HEV global exports has risen six-fold, from £1.3 billion to £7.9 billion meaning they now represent more than a third (36.1%) of the value of all UK car exports, up from a mere 4.1%.

BEVs, in particular, are critical to the future prosperity of the UK, with the value of their exports up a significant 1,457%, from £81.7 million to £1.3 billion, since 2017, says the SMMT.

The data also reveals that, in 2021, the value of BEV, PHEV and HEV exports to the EU alone totalled £4.11 billion, just surpassing the value of internal combustion car exports (£4.09bn). So far in 2022, almost six-in-10 of the UK’s car exports (57.4%) have been for markets in the EU.

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