Overall investment in the UK car industry also halved in 2018, according to new figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
Total 2018 car production of 1.52 million cars was a six-year low for the British automotive industry.
“UK automotive is on red alert,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes. “Brexit uncertainty has already done enormous damage to output, investment and jobs.” New investment of less than £600 million in 2018 was 46.5 percent below 2017 levels.
“Yet this is nothing compared with the permanent devastation caused by severing our frictionless trade links overnight, not just with the EU but with the many other global markets with which we currently trade freely.
UK demand for British-built cars fell 16.3 percent, while exports dropped 7.3 percent. 80 percent of new cars built in Britain (that’s 1.24 million cars) are exported – the majority of then to the EU.
10 percent of all cars sold in the European Union are built in Britain.
Overseas demand from China fell 24.5 percent, but exports to the United States actually grew 5.3 percent. The U.S. is now the second largest export market for UK automotive, behind the EU.
Exports to Japan also grew, by 26 percent, and South Korea grew 23.5 percent.
As the SMMT pointed out, both markets, along with Canada and Turkey, are “subject to preferential EU trade agreements, from which the UK benefits.
“Time has almost run out to guarantee continuity of any of these arrangements before Brexit, and ‘no deal’ could therefore put more than two thirds of UK automotive’s global trade under threat.”
Top 10 British-built best-sellers in the world
- Nissan Qashqai
- Honda Civic
- Toyota Auris
- Vauxhall Astra
- Range Rover Sport
- Nissan Juke
- Range Rover
- Range Rover Velar
- Jaguar F-Pace