Figures published today by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) show a -25.6% drop in UK commercial vehicle production for October. Latest figures from ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturers Association) released this week also show a contraction of European CV registrations in October, down -1.2%, and -22.2% for 2020 so far.
SMMT figures represent an 11,256-vehicle shortfall for the 10 months of the year to date. 6,761 buses, coaches, vans, trucks and taxis were manufactured in October, down from 9,087 during the same period in 2019. A drop was experienced in both domestic and export markets: -30.4% and -21.1% respectively.
Protracted Covid-19 disturbance and uncertainty over the threat of a ‘no deal’ Brexit have been cited by SMMT as possible reasons for the first drop in output for the domestic market since May. A total of 50,934 commercial vehicles have been so far built in the UK in 2020, with 56% destined for export.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, “These figures demonstrate the immense pressure the commercial vehicle sector is under in these unprecedented times. During the pandemic the industry has stepped up, flexing to meet demand while, as always, putting safety first. CV output is decreasing, however, and orders at home and overseas are down as operators delay fleet renewal due to Covid pressures, exacerbated, in the UK at least, by Brexit uncertainty.
“Mass fleet electrification and economic recovery will only come if we can ensure the long-term competitiveness of UK Automotive,” he concluded. “This starts with a favourable Brexit deal, with zero tariffs and rules of origin that encompass not just existing products but the next generation of zero emissions capable technologies.”