British car production fell -2.1% in the first month of 2020 according to figures released by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Factories turned out 118,314 units in January, the fifth successive month of decline, with the majority (82.7%) built for export worldwide. UK car production has now fallen in 19 of the last 20 months.

Overseas orders rose 4.1% to 97,870, boosted by the appeal of the latest models coming to market from certain brands, with rising demand for them in key European and Asian markets. However, this growth failed to offset a double-digit fall in production for the UK. Output for the domestic market fell sharply, down -23.9%, with continuing weak confidence meaning January car production overall recorded its lowest total for nine years.1

Commercial vehicles

UK commercial vehicle production declined -10.7% in January, with 8,202 units manufactured, according to the SMMT. The fall in output follows an “unusually buoyant January 2019”, which saw the number of vans, trucks, buses and coaches leaving production lines increase by almost half.

In January 2020, CV production for the UK was down -8.8%, marking the fifth successive month of decline in output for the domestic market, as weaker business confidence and variable buying patterns continued to affect orders. Production for export also dropped by -12.2% largely due to slowing demand in key European markets.