SMMT News UK Manufacturing

April CV production struggles to keep up with pre-pandemic levels

27 May 2021 #SMMT News #UK Manufacturing
  • 6,177 units roll off production lines in April, up on the first full month of plant closures last year.
  • British commercial vehicle output remains -6.1% down on pre-pandemic levels.1
  • Year-to-date production up 4.2%, driven by an increase in domestic demand, up 18.6%.

UK commercial vehicle (CV) production increased to 6,177 units in April, according to the latest figures released today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), a significant increase on April 2020 when just nine units left production lines as Covid stopped manufacturing. Although up on the equivalent pre-pandemic April 2019, which was itself weak given model changeovers notably impacted output, production was still down -6.1% on the five-year average for the month.2

Year-to-date commercial vehicle production increased by 4.2% to 22,267 units, driven largely by a rise in domestic demand, up 18.6%, while exports were down by -6.7%. The domestic share of production continues to steadily increase in 2021 as a combination of new trading arrangements and varying lockdown measures across the European Union – the leading export destination for CVs – affect output.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

April’s figures were always going be positively skewed given a full month of plant closures last year, so the uptick is good but expected news. We are a long way off recovery, however, and the prolonged ebb in production for overseas markets highlights the challenge ahead. CV manufacturing is as dependent on business confidence at home as it is abroad, so it is important the UK stays on track for timely recovery as global markets reopen.

Notes to editors

1. Average for 2015-2019 – 6,579
2. CV production in April 2019 – 2,162; CV production in April 2018 – 7,423.

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