Coronavirus will slash UK car production by ‘at least’ 200,000

UK car production risks having 200,000 vehicles wiped from its annual total – and it could get worse still

Nissan Juke car production in Sunderland

The UK car industry faces a dramatic cutback of at least 200,000 British-built cars in 2020 due to the coronavirus crisis.

This is if the industry shutdown lasts a matter of weeks: if it extends into months, the figures could be worse still.

It would result in an annual cut in British-built cars of at least 18 percent, taking UK car production down to less than 1.1 million vehicles.

Just four years ago, more than 1.7 million cars were built in Britain.

The analysis comes as the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) releases February car production figures.

These show a modest fall of 0.8 percent, with 122,000 vehicles rolling out of UK car factories.

This was the month before the coronavirus pandemic hit, though. March figures will be radically different.

Deep concern

“With UK car plants now effectively on national shutdown and many global markets closed, the outlook is of deep concern,” said SMMT chief executive Mike Hawes.

“If we’re to keep this sector alive and in a position to help Britain get back on its feet, we urgently need funding to be released, additional measures to ease pressure on cashflow and clarity on how employment support measures will work.”

The UK automotive industry is a key economic powerhouse, contributing £18.6 billion to the British economy each year.  

Hawes adds the industry is ready to help the country even in the current crisis, with production of essential medical equipment, sustaining delivery of supplies, transporting key workers and both providing and maintaining emergency services vehicles.

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Richard Aucock
Richard is director at Motoring Research. He has been with us since 2001, and has been a motoring journalist even longer. He won the IMCO Motoring Writer of the Future Award in 1996 and the acclaimed Sir William Lyons Award in 1998. Both awards are run by the Guild of Motoring Writers and Richard is currently chairman of the world's largest organisation for automotive media professionals. Richard is also a juror for World Car Awards and the UK juror for the AUTOBEST awards.


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