The UK produced 76,900 cars in March. That is a third less than in the same month last year. This is according to data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). “Two years after the start of the pandemic, car production is still having a hard time.”
Since the corona pandemic, the British automotive industry has been hit hard. Last year, car production in the UK fell to its lowest level since 1956. Especially due to the scarcity of raw materials and microchips, the industry has a hard time getting back on its feet.
During the first three months of 2022, a total of 207,347 cars were produced in the United Kingdom, according to the SMMT. That’s almost 100,000 fewer than in the same period in 2021. A total of 852,575 cars were produced in 2021, a steep decline compared to the top year 2016 when more than 1.7 million cars were made.
One of the factors for that decline in numbers, the BBC reports, is the closure of a dog factory in Swindon in the summer of last year. It was a factory that rolled some 160,000 cars off the assembly line every year.
In addition, the corona pandemic caused problems in the highly streamlined production systems of the automotive industry. The COVID crisis also caused raw material shortages and caused the supply of microchips to drop sharply. Supply chains have not yet recovered.
The latest crisis, the war in Ukraine, has caused the already rising energy prices to go further into the air. The SMMT therefore hopes that the British government can reduce energy costs, in order to help the automotive industry on top.
“Two years after the start of the pandemic, car production is still struggling,” said Mike Hawes CEO of SMMT, in a press release. “The recovery has not yet begun, and against the backdrop of an increasingly difficult economic climate, including escalating energy costs, urgent action must be taken to protect the competitiveness of British Industry.”
“We want the UK to be at the forefront of the transition to electric vehicles, not only as a market but also as a manufacturer, so urgent action needs to be taken if we are to secure jobs and livelihoods.” The share of electric cars produced in the UK would now be a quarter of the entire production.
The UK remains an export country in terms of cars despite everything. More than seven out of ten (72.5 percent) of the cars built in the country in March were sold abroad. The EU was the largest buyer (67.0 percent), followed by the USA (8.2 percent) and China (6.6 percent).