UK auto production grows but recovery affected by supply shortages
Auto production has continued to rise, but the industry’s recovery from the pandemic is affected by a global shortage of supplies such as semiconductors, new research shows.
Almost 55,000 cars left UK factories in May, up from just 5,314 in the same month a year ago, but still down more than 50% from May 2019.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has said so far this year that UK factories have built 429,826 cars, up 105,063 from 2020, but overall production remains down 22.9% compared to the same five-month period in 2019.
Alternative fuel vehicles now account for more than one in five cars built this year, with one in 16 being battery electric.
The SMMT said the numbers show the scale of the challenge the industry faces as it seeks to recover from the pandemic while grappling with global supply shortages, especially of semiconductors.
Manufacture of electrified vehicles is increasing while auto production generally continues to be export-driven, with 83.6% of all cars built in 2021 shipped overseas.
The European Union remains the most important destination for British cars, absorbing 56% of all exports, followed by the United States (18.3%) and China (7.3%).
Mike Hawes, Managing Director of SMMT, said: “The numbers for May continue to look inflated from the near total shutdown of production lines last year.
“The recovery of automobile production is however still massively challenged here and abroad by global supply shortages, in particular of semiconductors.
“If the UK is to remain competitive it must therefore ensure that it has an overall attractive policy framework for vehicle production and the supply chain.
“Accelerating the production of zero-emission cars is part of this program. So even though one in five models manufactured here this year are powered by an alternative power supply, we need to invest in research and development, charging infrastructure and the market to ensure that we can deliver the net zero future. the company asks.
A spokesperson for the Trade Department said: ‘We are committed to ensuring that the UK continues to be one of the best places in the world for automotive manufacturing and we are doing all we can to protect and create jobs.
“We are securing a competitive future for the sector with a major investment program of up to £ 1 billion to support the electrification of the automotive supply chain, including the development of gigafactories in the UK. “