CEO Update

Optimistic for the future despite the turbulence

20 December 2019 #CEO Update

It has been a turbulent year for vehicle manufacturing in the UK, with car production dropping again in November thanks to soft consumer and business confidence, weak demand in overseas markets and model production changes.

Output was down -16.5% last month, with 107,753 units built, and year-to-date figures show the market is more than 200,000 vehicles behind the same point in 2018, a drop of -14.5%.

Of course, part of the drop in volume in November was due to a number of car makers planning production stops around Halloween, to mitigate any disruption arising from the potential departure of the UK from the EU without a deal on 31 October.

These stoppages were in addition to those that had already taken place in April, contributing to the Brexit contingency bill of more than £500 million that has been spent by the automotive sector in the UK.

UK car production is export led, so we look forward to working with the new government to deliver an ambitious trade deal with the EU. The foundations of automotive manufacturing in the country remain strong, but to ensure our competitiveness at a time of dramatic technological change, that deal needs to be tariff free and avoid barriers to trade, which, for automotive, means that our standards must be aligned.

This can be achieved if government and industry work in partnership to re-establish the UK as a great place to invest and ensure that automotive keeps delivering for Britain.

It is high time for a well-earned break for the industry, however, and we at SMMT hope that you enjoy a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year. Update will return to your inbox on 10 January and we look forward to working with you in 2020.

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