Data from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) indicates that UK automotive production declined by 32.4 per cent on 2021 levels, going from 306,558 to 207,347 new vehicles registered.
The fall is largely due to fuel and diesel car production going down as battery electric vehicles (BEVs) made 7.5 per cent of the UK total output for the quarter, up 1.1 and 4.3 per cent on last year and 2019 levels respectively.
March 2022 was the weakest for the last 13 years, as production fell by 33.4 per cent year-on-year after UK automotive exports went down 41.4 per cent.
Exports to the US have been hit the hardest, which are down 63.8 per cent on last year, largely due to Honda’s decision to close the Swindon production plant last year, which manufactured vehicles primarily for the American market. Furthermore, exports to the EU declined by 24.5 per cent.
While productions volumes have been constricted because of Covid-induced global semiconductor shortages for the last two years, the war in Ukraine exacerbated the situation by making supply parts and freight costs more expensive.
Last month, Volkswagen’s global output for 2022 was thrown into question following a shortage of Ukraine-produced wire harnesses, while Mercedes warned yesterday the war as well as new lockdowns in China could hinder production.
Ross Barnitt, National Sales Director, PIB Insurance Brokers, commented: “We are in a ‘wait and see’ situation, but the automotive industry is a robust and buoyant one.”