CEO Update

Automotive production up in April but full recovery still some way off

28 May 2021 #CEO Update

This week saw SMMT release automotive production data for April, with the output of cars, commercial vehicles and engines all rising dramatically. The massive growth is unsurprising, however, as a year before, coronavirus brought the country to a standstill and assembly plants effectively shut. With only 197 cars produced last April, it really was a period like no other.

For April 2021 68,306 cars were produced which is positive but, when compared to a five-year average,  still down -42.9%. Commercial vehicle output also fell short of pre-pandemic levels, down -6.1% over the five-year April average and there was a similar story with engines, which declined by -22.9% during the same period.

This illustrates how far the sector has to go before we can talk of a full recovery. We need strong demand at home, alongside confident overseas markets. Yet manufacturers continue to face significant challenges, the most notable of which remains the worldwide shortage of semiconductors.

More encouragingly, however, the figures reveal the ongoing shift towards alternatively fuelled vehicles, with 22.8% of all cars manufactured in the UK in the month either battery electric, plug-in hybrids or hybrids.

How the UK ensures its competitiveness when it comes to producing ultra-low and zero emission vehicles will be the hot topic at the forthcoming SMMT International Automotive Summit on 29 June.

The ever-popular event will also see discussion on the ways in which the UK can retain its position as a centre of excellence for specialist manufacturing, the business opportunities and ramifications of decarbonisation, digitalisation of the supply chain and the future of automotive jobs.

With keynote speakers including, Alison Jones, UK Managing Director and Senior Vice President, Stellantis, Thierry Bolloré, CEO, Jaguar Land Rover and Michael Cole, President and Chief Executive, Hyundai Motor Europe, it is not to be missed. For information on tickets, sponsorship opportunities and to register, please contact our events team by email at