Nissan Juke production in SunderlandNew car production was down again in March 2018, with latest figures revealing a worrying 13.3 percent fall in demand. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says less than 150,000 cars were built in Britain last month, with declines both in home and export markets.

The latest data means overall car production in Britain has fallen 6.3 percent so far this year, with a mild 4 percent decline in exports being offset by a significant 14.1 percent decline in home demand.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, is starting to get worried by it. “A double digit decline in car manufacturing for both home and overseas markets is of considerable concern.” We’ve already recently seen job cuts as a result of this, from Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan, as well as staffing reductions at Vauxhall’s Ellesmere Port plant.

“Following recent announcements on jobs cutbacks in the sector, it’s vitally important that the industry and consumers receive greater certainty, both about future policies towards diesel and other low emission technologies, and our post-Brexit trading relationships and customs arrangements.”

The absolute priority, he says, is “maintaining free and frictionless trade… it has been fundamental to our past success and is key to our future growth”.

We should all share Hawes’ concern about falling car production in Britain. SMMT figures suggest the total economic impact of the automotive industry is £219 billion, or 10 percent of UK GDP. 13 percent of total UK exports are either cars or car components – and for every one pound generated by the automotive industry, an extra three pounds are delivered to the economy via support services…