Manufacturing output declines 11.9% due to electric mobility shift

UK car manufacturing output fell by 11.9% to 69,652 units in May, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

While production for the UK market increased by 9.7% to 17,754 units, this was insufficient to offset a 17.4% decline in export volumes, which totalled 51,898 units. Despite the drop, 74.5% of all cars made in Britain were exported, with the majority going to the EU (52.5%), followed by the US (18.2%), and Turkey (8.0%).

Production of electrified vehicles, including battery electric, plug-in hybrid, and hybrid models, remained strong, with 26,475 units produced. This represents 38.0% of total output, an increase of three percentage points compared to May 2023.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “Massive change is underway in the UK’s car factories as manufacturers retool for new electric models. Amid strong international competition for green automotive investment, however, the UK needs to ensure it has the most attractive conditions for manufacturing businesses and a compelling offer for existing and new investors. Essential to this is a long-term industrial strategy, which encompasses all industry, all stakeholders, and all of government in the pursuit of sustainable and green growth.”

With a general election approaching, the SMMT has launched its Vision 2035: Ready to Grow which outlines key priorities for the incoming government.

The plan advocates for robust support for British manufacturing and green investment through a comprehensive industrial strategy. Key elements include ensuring affordable and sustainable energy, enhancing supply chains, developing new skills for the workforce, fostering vibrant zero-emission vehicle markets, and maintaining strong, barrier-free trade relationships.

The SMMT said achieving these goals could see the sector generate over £290 billion in value from zero-emission vehicles by 2035, with UK factories producing more than a million battery electric cars and vans annually.


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