LCVs UK Manufacturing

CV manufacturing records best year to date since 2010 despite April fall

30 May 2024 #LCVs #UK Manufacturing
  • UK CV manufacturing declines -19.9% to 8,413 units in April but maintains 13.6% lead in first four months – the best year to date performance since 2010.
  • April output for both UK and export markets down, by -9.9% and -24.1% respectively, but exports remain up 30.3% YTD.
  • EU overwhelmingly Britain’s biggest export market, with 97.1% of exports heading for the bloc last month.

UK commercial vehicle (CV) manufacturing fell by -19.9% in April, the second consecutive monthly decline, with 8,413 vans, trucks, taxis, buses and coaches rolling off factory lines, according to the latest figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Despite this fall, CV production output is up a staggering 289.1% on the same period in 2019 – given investment and an uncharacteristically low April in 2019 with model changeovers at major production plants.1

Production for export declined by -24.1% in April, with 5,601 units making their way to global markets to represent two thirds (66.6%) of vehicles produced in the month. The domestic market also saw a fall, albeit at a smaller rate of -9.9%, or just 310 units, on a year ago. April’s decline reflects some temporary supply chain shortages and normalisation of the market following high levels of pent-up demand post-Covid.

Output in the year to date remains up by 13.6% at 41,039 units – the sector’s best performance since 20102 – driven by robust export demand, up 30.3% on the same period last year. Seven in 10 commercial vehicles produced in the first four months were destined for export, with the EU responsible for the lion’s share at 96.8%.3 Manufacturing for UK customers, meanwhile, declined by -12.4% to 12,378 units, but is expected to rise throughout the year as the market stabilises.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said,

A second consecutive month of decline for British commercial vehicle production is disappointing, but with supply chain shortages likely to be temporary and BEV production still set to rise, we expect a return to growth in the latter half of the year. The sector remains in good health, however, thanks to strong demand from overseas markets. With a general election less than two months away and net zero deadlines looming, we look to the next government to ensure market conditions remain favourable to businesses and manufacturing competitiveness is enhanced so the sector can continue to attract the investment necessary to boost production of zero emission vehicles.

Notes to editors

1 April production figures, 2019: 2,162 units
2 Jan to April commercial vehicle production, 2010: 43,205 units
3 Jan to April commercial vehicle production, 2023: 36,114 units

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