MINI Plant Oxford

British-built car sales plunge by nearly half in June

MINI Plant OxfordBritish car manufacturing dropped by 5.5 percent in June 2018, with a 6 percent increase in exports failing to offset a massive 47.2 percent decline in cars for the UK market.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers (SMMT) blamed model cycle and operational changes plus preparations for this autumn’s new WLTP fuel economy regulations.

However, the decline in home market sales pushed the UK’s car exports total up to almost 9 in 10 models last month – with more than half of them exported to the EU. And the ongoing lack of clarity over Brexit has the SMMT worried.

Nissan Sunderland

“We need a deal,” SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes told The Guardian. “If we have no deal, there is no transition, there is no implementation period, that would kick in less than eight months away.

“You can operate on WTO [World Trade Organisation] trade rules, but it would be at a significant extra cost and burden that we currently enjoy.” The Guardian reports that, when asked if there were any potential Brexit benefits for the car industry, Hawes replied: “Not that we can see.”

53.4 percent of UK car exports go to Europe. Although it has grown 1.5 percent, the next-biggest export market, the US, is way behind on 16 percent. 6.4 percent of British-built cars go to China, and 3.3 percent to Japan.

UK car manufacturing in 2018 – so far…

Nissan Juke at Sunderland

In an official statement, Hawes said the first-half car production figures for 2018, which showed a 3.3 percent decline, “are a reminder of the exports-led nature of UK automotive”. The industry is fully integrated with the EU supply chain and is dependent on free and frictionless trade.

“The UK government’s latest Brexit proposals are a step in the right direction to safeguard future growth, jobs and consumer choice – not just in Britain but right across Europe.

“We now look to negotiators on both sides to recognise the needs of the whole European automotive industry which, combined, employs more than 12 million people.

“Any disruption risks undermining one of our most valuable shared economic assets.”

Top export markets for British built cars in 2018

1: EU – 53.5 percent

2: US – 16 percent

3: China – 6.4 percent

4: Japan – 3.3 percent

5: Turkey: 3.0 percent


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