UK car manufacturing at 65-year low in October as 'Chip' shortage continues | Cars UK

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UK car manufacturing at a 65-year low in October 2021

Car manufacturing in the UK fell to a 65-year low in October as car manufacturing continues to be constrained by a ‘Chip’ shortage.

Back in June 2019, we reported a 15.5 per cent fall in car manufacturing in the UK in May 2019, with manufacturing falling for a year after a previous ‘Golden’ period of ever-rising builds. 

But that decline – to 116,035, a fall of 21,239 on the previous year – now looks like a real result when we see figures for October 2021 at just 64,729, a fall on last year of a whopping 41.4 per cent.

Of course, as we all know, the huge drop in car manufacturing – to the lowest October level since 1956 – is mainly down to a semiconductor shortage, a shortage that’s worldwide and affecting all car makers, and which sees no sign of abating in the near future, with the closure of Honda’s Swindon Plant contributing too.

Of those cars actually produced, 80 per cent were heading overseas, with 60 per cent of them heading for the EU – a fall in numbers of almost 30 per cent – and exports to the US and Japan down by 67 and 57 per cent respectively.

The shining light, according to SMMT which delivers the numbers, is that cars with a plug accounted for 30.9 per cent of the numbers. Although we’re guessing that’s, at least in part, down to car makes prioritising their production.

Mike Hawes, SMMT CEO, said:

These figures are extremely worrying and show how badly the global semiconductor shortage is hitting UK car manufacturers and their suppliers. Britain’s automotive sector is resilient but with Covid resurgent across some of our largest markets and global supply chains stretched and even breaking, the immediate challenges in keeping the industry operational are immense.


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