UK Car Manufacturing Output Drops 7% in April Amid Factory Adjustments

by Anna

UK car manufacturing output saw a decline of 7.0% in April, with production dropping to 61,820 units, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). This marks the second consecutive monthly decline as factories adjust to accommodate next-generation models and electrified powertrains.

Despite a 19.8% increase in domestic production, reaching 14,021 units, this rise was insufficient to counterbalance a 12.7% decrease in output for overseas markets, which fell to 47,799 units. Export demand remains crucial, with nearly 80% of UK-produced cars shipped globally. The European Union accounted for the largest share of exports at 55.8%, followed by the US (15.2%), China (5.4%), Turkey (4.2%), and Australia (2.8%). While shipments to the US and Turkey saw growth, exports to the EU, China, and Australia experienced double-digit declines.


Electrified vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid models, made up 40.5% of total production, a slight increase from 37.7% the previous year. Manufacturers produced 25,031 electrified units, marking a modest 0.1% rise year-on-year, reflecting the ongoing transition to new models and technologies.


Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, commented, “Another month of falling UK car production was expected given the significant transformation underway within factories as manufacturers retool to produce new models. Keeping this progress on track is essential and requires favourable industrial and market conditions. With a general election in a matter of weeks, the next government must ensure the conditions are right not just for the competitiveness of UK manufacturing, but for the investment required to transition the sector to a net zero future.”


Ahead of the general election, SMMT is urging the next government to adopt key measures outlined in its Manifesto 2030 as part of a comprehensive industrial strategy. These measures include delivering low-cost zero carbon energy, ensuring a skilled future workforce, securing free trade deals with existing and emerging markets, and supporting the domestic market for new electric vehicles. SMMT believes these steps are crucial for enhancing the sector’s competitiveness, driving economic growth, and achieving environmental goals.


Year-to-date, UK car manufacturing output is down 0.8% compared to 2023, with a total of 284,191 units produced. Export volumes have declined by 8.7% to 209,458 units, while domestic production has increased by 31% to 74,733 units.

Independent forecasts predict that UK car and light van production will fall by 6.2% to approximately 940,000 units this year. However, growth is expected to resume in 2025, with production anticipated to exceed one million units from 2026 and reach 1.2 million units later in the decade.

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